What? You don't believe me. If you've turned on the radio or television in the last 40 years, there's no doubt you know that friendships rarely last the political world. For the last three years, I've worked for a local elected official; he and I are friends and always will be – no doubt.
When I began my work at City Hall, I knew the majority of the other electeds in the building and had known them for a minimum of 10 years mostly through my late father. Little did I know that politics has a lot to do with relationships, but very little to do with friendship.
Let's be real here – no one dives head first into politics thinking lifelong friendships will be born from backroom deals and high powered lunches. Politics is a game – you either play it or get played.
I've watched my friend and boss get eaten alive because he wanted to rise above the game and lead with his heart. This is one of many reasons why I agreed to get on this crazy bus ride known as public service with him. What I wasn't prepared for was the backstabbing by the very people who knew and liked us before we arrived. Now, I'm no dummy – I understand the game of politics, but I will never conform to the idea that one must sell their soul to the political devil just to get a majority vote on their pet project.
I learned from the best. I watched my father [Joe Serna, Jr. former Mayor of Sacramento, CA] play the game of politics; he won a few battles and lost more often than people choose to believe. What made him special: He never lost sight of why he threw his hat into the political ring. He used the bully pulpit to move his agenda ahead like any good politician, but his agenda wasn't self-serving. His agenda put kids at the top, poor people in front and he pushed his agendas based on what was best for the people. Hell, he managed to piss off many of his friends because he was leading with his heart.
Please, I beg of you, if you have a desire to run for office never forget to lead with your heart. Stay true to who you are, never forget where you came from and always remember who your real friends are. Trust me, I know. There are no friends in politics… but that doesn't mean you can't lead from your heart.
She is Spicy Cilantro's public service and education fanatic. Her father, Joe Serna Jr., was the first Latino mayor of Sacramento, CA and a professor of Government as CSUS, California State University of Sacramento. Joe is also Santos' grandson. Lisa blogs about public service, politics, education, volunteerism, and growing up in public view. Lisa's father was one of the first volunteers inducted into JFK's international Peace Corps. We expect great things from Lisa… mayor, senator, governor… after all, her father left her the political blueprint.
Spicy Cilantro's Editor's Note: Lisa Serna Mayorga's post greatly interested me because I have been hooked on poli-chisme (political gossip) ever since Sarah Palin came into our focus. As a result, I've been addicted to Nicolle Wallace's best-selling books, last year's Eighteen Acres (Atria Books) and more recently, It's Classified (Atria Books).
Wallace is an author and political commentator who previously served as communications chief during the presidency of George W. Bush and in his 2004 re-election campaign. But where Wallace became most relevant to this editor was when her person was portrayed in the film "Game Change." Wow! What a tumultuous professional roller coaster ride that was for her! This film well-documents all the highs and lows of having Sarah Palin on the John McCain presidential campaign.Talk about backstabbing, mental issues, and so many other murky gray areas in which the majority of politics takes place… and it doesn't matter if it is local, state or federal! Lisa talks about one of the gray areas in her article. Oh, but stay tuned, because there is so much more! –E. Esparza