Saturday, January 30, 2010


I see much hand wringing in venues regarding the future of "insert your worry here". I find such talk by so-called realists dismaying. If I have rose-colored glasses, the lenses are badly scratched, and they sit cockeyed from being banged up. Rather, I like to think that my experience, and the experience of our country's history, points to the great things that one/many can do when there is commitment to a positive outcome.

Just as the line between conviction/bias is blurry, so too is the line between critiquing/carping. I'm still having trouble with the line of demarcation for conviction/bias. However, the line between critiquing and carping has a very sharp, thin line--and that line is simply the line of action v. inaction.

The sport of second guessing the actions of leaders and engaging in armchair econometrics has risen to a national past time. To be sure, there is plenty of fodder to feed both activities. But my counterpoint is simply this to those who engage: what are you doing (besides griping) to make a difference? There are plenty of folks in the media that are very capable of inciting the emotions of those that want the heat of their discontentment fanned. Frankly, those folks are no better than the people that those they target in their hostile laments.

All of this would be amusing were it not so damaging. It creates a division of us v. them. The HBO series, John Adams, was a very compelling reminder of the sacrifice a citizenry must make to effect meaningful change. When our commitment to things outweighs our commitment to values we become lopsided, unbalanced. Our much-lauded forefathers were still a collection of flawed people.

Human DNA has not changed, though we would like to think so. So it is both unwise and inaccurate, to believe that our leaders from before were vastly superior in all respects to our current leadership. They were not. But they did share a commitment to sacrifice everything--safety, freedom, wealth, their lives and the lives of their families--to effect change that they believed in.

It's fine to be angry and outraged about 'stuff'. Anger and outrage are very compelling emotions---they provide fuel for change. Our nation's birth is the best example of what properly channeled anger and outrage can accomplish. Are you outraged by handouts? Go volunteer at one of your health and human services agencies. Might as well get good look at the freeloaders and 'system-workers' for yourself. The faces that you see and the stories that you hear might give you an education. Are you outraged by your politicians? Run for office--better yet, go lend your energy to the party of your choice.

"Stuff" doesn't get done by armchair anybodies. Armchair anybodies are benign lumps that make a lot of noise--it is a benign cacophony. Whatever is ahead of us, the leaders of (wo)men will not be those that point out the faults of others, but rather those who point to the courage and goodness within us and inspire us to be a change agent rather than a bitter soul content to carp from the sidelines.