Public Relations in today’s climate is all about convincing you to do something, to buy something, or maybe even to avoid something so that a person or an organization profits from your purchase, your avoidance or, especially, your vote. Gentle persuasion is usually the means, but you can be assured that the one doing the persuading is trying to convince you to believe and/or act like themselves. The most common means of PR aimed at you is the commercial, be it radio, TV, or print ad. You know, like the pile of newsprint ads you receive in your mailbox on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week trying to get you to buy a product you don’t need with a coupon you really don’t want to use. But it’s there, so why not.
Please don’t misunderstand, PR is necessary, but many times it is simply not honest. Almost everyone has an angle and they want to get you to lean to their angle. The problem is truth. . .or the stretching of it.
A Personal Record, is the best you’ve ever done at something; I’m particularly thinking of runners because I am one. When I was a teenager in high school my PR in most any event was a lot better than it is now. I don’t know that I was any better of a runner than than I am now, but I was younger (I didn’t weigh nearly as much) and I had a lot more time to train–I was more consistent with my training regimen. I practiced and practiced and practiced. I had special running shoes, I spent hours setting up in starting blocks and listening for the sound of the starter’s gun. I tried different ways of coming out of the blocks to get the quickest start and I learned how to lean at the finish at full speed just in case someone was as fast as me.
I remember my track coach in high school. He had been a sprinter, himself. He developed a thyroid problem and his therapy caused his body to balloon; he couldn’t run anymore, but he sure could coach. He made me run with the distance guys. Hey coach, I run the 100 and 200, maybe the quarter mile, but not the 800 or the 10,000–nevertheless, I practiced with the cross country guys. I admired them and I hated them all at the same time. I could never keep up. I didn’t know that my coach was just trying to teach me stamina.
PR can also stand for Personal Responsibility, something that, in this society, is largely ignored. This is especially true among politicians. They say something today, justify it tomorrow, and deny it the next day even though their statement has been digitally recorded and played on all the news agencies. The worst part is that the media PR people help them avoid PR. And, this is equally true among people not looking for votes–just looking for an excuse. “I didn’t mean to shoot him,” they will say. And then they want to be excused for murder. “I didn’t mean to run head on into that teenager’s car and kill her,” they’ll claim. And then they don’t want to be found guilty of vehicular homicide even though they were high, out of control, and really don’t care about the life lost.
Personal Responsibility is not being learned because it is not being taught. It is not being taught because it is not understood by the immediate past generations of the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. And you can guess why. The adults of the last 30 years were the kids of the previous 30 years when the peace sign, free love, and the antiestablishment movement gained a foothold on American culture. Don’t blame me, they say, blame someone else. Blame those who have money, blame those who don’t have money, blame those who have white skin, blame those who have black skin, blame the Hispanics, just don’t blame me ’cause it’s not my fault. Oh yeah, look in the mirror and you will discover it is ALL your fault because you would not stand up for what is holy and right–so you fell for the lie of what is evil and easy.
I hope you are not one of those who never reaches for the stars and just settles for glitter. How can you have a personal best when you don’t even have a personal good. What is your PR?