January 3, 2010
One of the phrases I’m coming to really hate is:
The American people, want blah, blah, blah,…
I am an American person, and no one has ever asked me, what I think, yet they continually speak for me, how dare they…
I watch debates on C-Span and elsewhere.
Both sides say, make that shout, the American people, want blah, blah, blah,…
Sometimes they modify it slightly:
The American people, REALLY want blah, blah, blah,…
The Bottom Line is: The American people, want blah, blah, blah,…
To justify in their own minds, their claim to talk for the American people, they often quote surveys or polls, yet they can never produce the ‘poll’ that their fantasies are based on. If they had the slightest shred of integrity, which they don’t, they would say: “I want blah, blah, blah,…”
One of the greatest offenders is Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary.
He starts almost every 2nd sentence with: The American people, want blah, blah, blah,… He justifies everything the president does or doesn’t do as being for the American people! We are not fooled!
His intervening sentences start with: Obviously……..
A condescending remark to whoever asked the question, which means: It’s obvious to me; so if you differ in your opinion, you must be a complete and total idiot.
To be fair, he’s only doing his job, his totally condescending attitude towards almost everyone, accurately reflects his boss, our 1/2 black president Barach Obama.
I am an American person, and no one has ever asked me, what I think,
yet they continually speak for me, how dare they…
Have they asked you?
Have you given them permission to speak for you?
Is it this or is it that?
That seems to be the way decisions are portrayed by the media, politicians, and most academics. Whether to fund a new program, or start a new war, all the pundits make the decision appear simple: Is it this is it or that?
But for those of us in the real world, it’s almost never that simple.
Let’s say you want to buy a car. We have lots of preferences: Initial price; payment plans; better gas mileage; maintenance records; and the intangibles: Is it cool?, Is it easy to park? Is it comfortable?; both to drive and to get in and out of?
So after hours, or days, or weeks, we’ve narrowed it down to 3 cars: A, or B, or C! What we decide is what I call a package decision. Neither package A, nor package B, nor package C are perfect. Each has some things we like and some things we don’t like. But eventually we make a decision – a package decision!
#2: Let’s say we’re looking for a mate.
There are lots of candidates. Some obviously NO! Many so-so. And a few final contenders. We really like Alice or Sally; or John or Frank; none of them are perfect, they all have flaws, some fairly serious, but eventually, unless we wish to remain single forever, we make a decision, a package decision. Package A is better than package B.
Academics can’t seem to understand this.
Let’s look at a 3rd example. Voting for a political candidate.
If you vote a party ticket, this is not for you. You won’t enjoy it.
I’ve never belonged to a political party. The idea of some group, somewhere far away, deciding who I will vote for is totally repugnant to me. Over the years, I’m 68 now, I’ve seen lots of Individuals make & break dozens of promises. Some had to change when confronted with the reality of governing, some never intended to live up to their promises in the first place. But to me, when all is said & done I vote for an Individual – a package decision. He, or soon she, will make their own personal decisions. I’ll agree with some, and disagree with others, that’s life.
But this principle applies to much smaller decisions as well. Let’s say you want to buy a birthday cake. Chocolate or vanilla; rich cream or substitute; plain or inscribed; how big? Again, your final decision is a package decision.
How many ‘package decisions’ have you made in your life?
January 2, 2010
I remember thinking about this years ago. My thoughts try to explain ‘work’ in a non-judgmental way, reducing the so-called moral arguments to a minimum. As I see it there are 2 ways to contribute and get paid for work: By the hour, or by the piece.
The hourly people consider ‘hours worked’ as their contribution, so the notion of leaving early is wrong in their minds. Also, there is no need to define ‘success’ because success to them is putting in your time, regardless of what you
accomplish. Thank God for them, they are why we can count on a bank or grocery store being open when we expect it to be, or a plane, or a train, being on-time.
The piece work people contribute by achieving some predefined goal. If it takes 1 hour fine, but if it takes 20 hours, so be it. Without a defined goal, they would have no way of knowing when to go home.
Instead of liberal & conservative; democrat or republican; terms which tend to get everybody’s emotions all stirred up – Hourly workers and Piece-work workers can talk more rationally. To me it’s like the MBTI types*, no one is any ‘better’ than any other one. But for each Individual, whether by DNA or experiences, one definitely ‘fits’ better. Perhaps Mother Teresa said it best:
No matter who says what, you should accept it with a smile
and do your own work.
– Mother Teresa (1910-1997) Albanian Missionary
* Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
We are so used to everything being dramatic, even ordinary things made to appear more dramatic than they are. And we are exhausted. Enough already. These things are mostly beyond our reach. So-called reality shows are anything but real.
I think we are all ready for a rest. A year of ordinary everyday things. Things each and everyone of us can do. Bake an apple pie. It is said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I believe that teacher is Sully Sullenberger. His success was not a hurricane or volcano, or blowing up a building, but 40 years of doing each day his own private best, something within the reach of all of us. All of those thousands of ordinary days built a single day of phenomenal results, good results, not bad ones. Again, this is something within the reach of all of us.
I believe that is also the root of the popularity, and polarity, of Sarah Palin. She has succeeded by doing ordinary things consistently well. She knows how to be happy every single day. She considers it a good day when she gets up, has breakfast with her family, goes out & tries not to fall on the ice, go snow-machining, or hunting, and come home to dinner with more family. She knows how to be happy Now, and I think that irritated so many. Many who ‘will be’ happy when they get the next raise, the next promotion, the next election… But they are miserable today.
This years Rose Parade, on new years day, had a similar theme – A Cut Above the Rest. No Arnold Swartzenager, Terminator type success, just being a slight cut above the rest, a goal within everyone’s reach.
Years ago, I read many books by the motivational writer Og Mandino. Many had the word ‘Secret’ in their titles. Many of the messages boiled down to being ‘a small but measurable bit better than others’. Again, a goal within everyone’s reach. So I’m going to pursue that goal of 51%, a slight bit better, rather than the perfectionist goals of 99% or 100%. It will create a lot less stress for me and maybe, just maybe, I’ll wind up doing something worthwhile this year.