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A well known politician made a campaign stop at my place of employment today. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

From the moment he strode into the room, exuding confidence from his perfect smile, his perfect hair, and the perfect knot on his perfect tie, through the perfectly rehearsed stump speech, to the perfectly planted members of the "crowd" asking perfectly expected questions, everything was... perfect. Even when he walked around to all of us imperfect people, his handshake left nothing to chance, and he made sure to press the flesh of everyone in attendance. Everyone.

The veneer was unblemished throughout. The owner of the company delivered his prepared remarks that were probably vetted first by the candidate's team. I know he can speak comfortably, but he hit too many bullet points on the candidate's campaign platform for it to be pure chance. (Then again, he and I first met when he was a salesman at a machine shop where I worked during college, so you never know.)
The machines weren't running on the shop floor, but were idly humming at just the right volume to convey that the candidate was a man of the people, comfortable with the men and women of the working class. When he took questions, they were from outsiders who didn't lob slow-pitch softballs, but rather set up a game of tee-ball. And afterward, when he went around the shop with photographer and videographer in tow, his interest was as authentic as anyone could expect.

The questions he asked me about what I was doing (I was trying to figure out why our customer didn't like the parts we made for them, and how I have to adjust the tooling to accommodate changes we have to make) were unimpressive; not even a half hearted attempt at reaching out. It was an event I'd rather have been able to miss, but unfortunately, management made it clear that they wanted a good showing from everyone. Unmistakably, the difference between us was large: while he was busy shaking hands and talking about getting people back to work, we were busy rolling up our sleeves actually doing it.

I'll be happy if no-one else tries to waste my time like that.
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