Intentionality Makes the Difference



Marriage has a way of bringing in lots of new. New routines, new standards and even a new person or many new people all enter the equation.


For me, it was a new concept that I hadn’t given much thought to before getting married two and a half years ago. This was intentionality.


“Be intentional with each other,” was one piece of recurring advice from several people. This means to act in a coordinated way with a clearly defined goal.


Getting flowers to show you care even when there’s nothing to celebrate is intentional because you are demonstrating behavior that expresses you're feeling motivated by your own emotions and not by societal benchmarks like Valentine’s Day, although don’t forget that day either.


Intentionality can be small, like a squeeze of the hand, or lavish material items or trips, but it needs to show you care. With this consistent element, the message of love, applied to each act then it can build toward a steady marriage.


However, sometimes acts that can look intentional, such as the aforementioned flowers, take on a different context if the message is an apology. In this case, acts that are meant to be intentional can look the same on the surface but have mixed meanings in practice. More on that in future columns.


This word also helps describe my framework for everything I’ve presented in the Concurrent so far from the definition of the two sides of our political divide to my personal support of the Ft. Island Trail bike path.


I believe Citrus County has two distinct ideologies in competition with one another, something encouraged in a healthy democracy, but I don't think traditional labels adequately explain those sides.


It’s not party loyalty such as the Republicans and Democrats nor is it political ideology such as conservative against liberal though that is closer to describing it.


I have called it the relational culturists and the principled structuralists. Culturists are more likely to believe that people make an organization great and structuralists trend more toward believing an organization’s mission is what makes it great.


I consider myself firmly in the latter category of a structuralist but I think the dominating philosophy of our area is that of culturists.


The culture of Citrus County is hyper reciprocity. This is a new term I’ll elaborate on in later columns but wanted to introduce to those who have been following these old terms since the beginning of the Concurrent.


Here’s the important part of our divide. I strongly believe that even the most ardent culturists have the underlying intention to make Citrus County a better place. This intentionality is why I never think less of people I disagree with in our local community even if we can’t see eye-to-eye on most issues. The path to achieving the goal is different, but I know without a doubt the intentionality is the shared.


Culturists believe in using the weight of their organizations and shortcuts with friends in other organizations to achieve what they think is best, and structuralists believe in working within the framework of political ideology and organizational missions to advance society, but the end goal is the same.


Intentionality also explains why I’m for a $20+m bike path but against $2,500 of former CARES Act (now county general fund) money to a nonprofit. Fiscal conservatives can balk at the disparity in numbers wondering how I could be for something so extraordinarily expensive while against something so cheap, but in this case, cost has less to do with it than intention.


The bike trail so far has been overwhelmingly supported locally by funds from the bed tax, that’s legal purpose must go to projects to promote tourism and can’t be used for other projects such as residential road resurfacing. The state and federal funds required to finish it will also be from funds budgeted for projects of this sort.


If you buy your wife a new $1,300 laptop but live paycheck to paycheck then you are being fiscally irresponsible even if you are being intentional. However, if you create a technology budget then purchase the gift using funds designated for that purpose then are being both intentional and fiscally conservative.


The bike trail project comes with understandable sticker shock, but that should not disqualify it from consideration even from the most principled conservatives as long as we stay on the current path of not using revenue from residents to pay for it.