“Capitolizing” Politics by Guest Blogger Sam Cheng, CPA, CGMA, CAEPosted: February 20, 2017
Trump. Cabinet appointments. The women’s rallies. The immigration executive order. Education funding at the state level. Balancing the budget for Texas in this session. In a time when it often appears that our system isn’t working, it makes one wonder how we have survived over 240 years as a country. How can we make America great again? Let’s just start with making Texas great again.
A few weeks ago, CPAs from all over the state were in Austin to be sure that we were active in the process as Texas kicked off its legislative session. There were issues that are near and dear to our hearts, but nothing causing consternation at the level of women or immigrants.
What was evident was that the process surprisingly works in a relatively historical place. I have been to the Capitol many times, but decided to take a different perspective this time. Walking up to the Capitol the first thing that you note are the live oaks and pecan trees that surround the grounds. I am not an arborist, but the trees were spiraling wonders of nature with ranches that appear to be the second level of protection after the metal fencing installed in 1896 to our state capita l.
As you enter the steps to the Capitol and wait to go through the metal detectors you notice the door knobs and door hinges that bear the details of the state of Texas and all of the fine craftsmanship of the intricate wood work on the door. These aren’t doors that could be special ordered at Lowe’s or Home Depot. All of these little things hold the structure of our Capitol and the government together and have for a very long time.
Walking the halls once you get inside is like a labyrinth. I am sure that the legislators and their staffs know the path as well as the many hidden shortcuts, but to an outsider who only visits every other year this is a mass of people moving in a chaotic motion with no real purpose. Ant farms appear to be working with more organization. This mass of people holds together the democracy of our state, and has been since joining the U.S. in 1845.
Our map is a necessary clue to find each of the representatives we are supposed to visit. Even with the map we still find it possible to get lost. A woman offers assistance in noting that the room numbers are designed to give you directional guidance. Imagine the E2.102 would be office number in the east direction. Order among the chaos.
We unfortunately don’t get to see the two representatives that we were hoping to meet, but we do get to talk to their staffs and let them know about our CPA platform for this session. Both staffs were very accommodating and willing to assist. Again, what appeared to be a waste of time did have a small or hopefully impactful consequence.
This system, as crazy as it seems, works. It is the best in the world and we are all fortunate to live in this country and democratic system. What sometimes seems like chaos in the big picture is a system that will evidently work. Good values that formed this system will ultimately work and the people will have a voice.
What is our role as CPAs? Be active in any way you can. Representatives devote more time to personal correspondence rather than an email or random call to their office. Each chapter has a PAC representative that could sure get you involved on a more personal level. This doesn’t have to mean writing a check or writing a bigger check. It just means doing your part for our democratic system.
Sam Cheng is the Director of Accounting for Earthbound Trading Company in Grapevine, TX. He is a member of the Dallas Chapter and currently serves on the TSCPA Board of Directors.