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Our Emperors Have Some Clothes

I’m not going to name names but can we agree that the 24 hour News Cycle and ubiquitous hand-held digital devices have done nothing to dial down the egos of some of our elected officials? Not too long ago we were covering an event in the US Capital when a certain Senator, impeccably tailored and replete with entourage, entered the room. What followed is the truth so help me God.

The Senator’s young female aides wore designer heels that were so pointy Louis IV would have coveted them, and beautiful expensive girl-suits with skirts so short that well, you know. The young men in the group sported sharp, GQ looking work-wear and warrior expressions. As if choreographed for a scene in a movie, they swirled around the Senator like a fish ball, cel-talking, texting and tweeting in frenetic synchronicity. Clearly, this Senator was important and the rest of them certainly would be. They positively wore it!

It was good to get back to Delaware where most of the time we are interviewing and otherwise covering elected officials here for Content Delaware or a Public Service Announcement campaign. Call it the mystical Delaware Way, but most of the time I find our delegation remarkably approachable and well, more mindful of the definition of the term Public Servant. Nearly all of them (I said no names) make eye contact and listen without scanning the surrounding area to see if there is someone more important in the room with whom they should be sharing their valuable attention. They, too, have young handlers most of whom seem like, well, young handlers working hard not to screw up while advancing their careers. They make eye contact and most of them smile–valuable facial cues.

But every now and then, even Delaware’s elected and appointed act a little too anointed. It’s all stored away for an annual event where they are not-too-gently reminded of their human foibles, and all for a very worthy cause (see: degridiron.org). Some of them even lampoon back with their own gag videos, most of which are actually funny. It happens on the first Saturday in May at the annual Gridiron Dinner, Delaware’s version of the National Press Club roast in Washington. The problem is that it only happens annually.

Governing these days can be dark and dangerous. There are still a lot of good people, but more often than not goodwill seems to be AWOL. And how about that other “G” word, greed? So more levity and less self-importance might be just what the doctor ordered for reminding some of the Emperors in Washington that underneath the cloaks of spin and posturing, we’re all naked.

Court Jesters like Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert and his Report can’t be expected to do it all. So c’mon friends, you’ve all got palm-sized production capabilities and story possibilities are endless. Get going and get funny, and if you need further inspiration check out the 23rd Annual Gridiron Dinner on Saturday May 3rd at the Chase Center in Wilmington.

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About Sharon Baker

Sharon Baker’s creative expertise and life long interest in advancing social justice through critical storytelling have been the driving forces behind TELEDUCTION's success since its expansion to film and television in 1982. Expert in the art of the interview, she has documented the struggles and achievements of people in neighborhoods throughout the US, and in settings in Africa, China, Central America and elsewhere, tapping into the humanity of her subjects from the powerless…to Presidents. Her titles include Cartoons Go to War, Whispers of Angels, With All Deliberate Speed: Brown v. Board, Estamos Aqui and Why I Write. TELEDUCTION programs have been broadcast via American Public Television, The History Channel, The BRAVO Network, National Geographic Worldwide, and are in educational distribution throughout the US. Sharon’s extensive experience as a producer, director, writer and photographer has netted her prestigious industry awards Emmys, National Gabriel, bronze and silver Chris Awards) and Palm D’Or at distinguished Film Festivals, including the Heartland International Film Festival(2011).
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