Friday, October 1, 2010
the right tool for the job
I often guide my way through life’s journeys and detours by referring to axioms. The dictum which reminds us that the first step to getting out of a big hole requires us to stop digging is an old favorite of mine. And perhaps this message needs to be run 24/7 on a Times Square billboard.
America has been toiling in a massive hole for a couple of years now, since being declared healthy enough for removal from life support (meaning no more bailouts). We muddle by with mind boggling government debt, extensive unemployment, an aging infrastructure, an overextended military, tremendously high foreclosure rates, upside down home ownership (owing more than a house is worth), huge personal and business debts, and a frivolous denial about global warming in the real sense as well as in the creating some jobs sense.
Are people angry? Of course they are. Are there times and places for anger? Of course there are. The tricky thing though about the emotion of anger is how it can work well within a healthy personal relationship at times, and yet can wreak havoc within business or public relationships. Within a strong personal relationship, anger sometimes sounds the alarm that problems need to be addressed. And if they are, the relationship can grow and become even better. However, in a business, group or public setting, anger often transcends being an emotion. Interest in mending or improving the relationship can quickly take a back seat to the gathering of allies, winning of the battles and later to losing the war.
I fear that this is the current state in much of American politics and culture today. Carl Paladino, running for governor of New York State as a Republican this fall, perhaps exemplifies the angry man of today most aptly. He holds himself together as he declares himself to be ‘mad as hell’ in a video clip on the paladinoforthepeople web site. I get the angry Tea Party coziness of his statement. I wonder though if he gets the Freudian slip side of being one who is ‘mad as hell’ as in crazy, nutty and irrational. As in someone who would send a letter to Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic choice, running for governor in the Empire State, in which, on September 20th, Paladino made several remarks about Mr. Cuomo and his lack of ‘cojones’. Or someone would refer to former NYS Governor George Pataki as a ‘degenerate idiot’. Or someone who thinks a well thought out idea is to 'take a baseball bat to Albany'. Or someone who would attempt to make an analogy that connects Sheldon Silver, the NY Assembly speaker, with Hitler and an Antichrist. Or boil over into some kind of implied threat when taunting, ‘I’ll take you out buddy’ ,while arguing with a New York Post editor in a hotel lobby near Lake George. And certainly he would not connect being ‘mad as hell’ with the extreme divergence of judgment required between wanting to lead a State of 19 million people and forwarding racist, vulgar and immature e-mails without thought, in what he has labeled ‘poor judgment’, as has been reported in the media. Notwithstanding the madness, this trendy position of showing anger without discussing solutions to the individual, public, current and future problems only serves to divide our energy and will likely keep us mired in our hole right up to the midterm elections in November and beyond.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, President Obama (the unruffled man) and his administration have disappointed many by the lack of tangible projects and solutions brought forth to get the country back on track following the disastrous Bush era. I am not so sure that Andrew Cuomo can get the job done with any less disappointment here in New York.
But when I enter the voting booth on November 2nd, I will pull a lever that I believe provides a chance for focus, strategy, equality, progress, growth and maturity. Snowballing anger, void of sincerity, usually just begets more anger and little gets solved. No matter what party I look to I want to vote for someone with ideas and principles that make good sense, not good punch lines.
It is currently very hard to for me to see any individuals who meet those criteria because the shovels are still largely in hand and tons and tons of bulls@#$ are still being tossed around in the emptiness. Forget the baseball bat; negotiating our way out of this stink hole may require each of us to be packing a can of Lysol.
© 2010 Christopher’s Views