Before I begin today’s posting, this note first: If this were a “live” forum I would ask my readers to give up a bountiful applause for my blog’s guest correspondent, Ron Carmean. Ron has provided several really nice postings over the past month and it has been refreshing to see new topics and new discussion in this space. I also selfishly enjoyed the time off, so thank you Ron! Now, don’t wander off too far, Ron, because I know you have a few more postings standing by and this is one town that’s big enough for the two of us.
I spent time today thinking about what I would write here at this particular moment. I rarely take on controversial topics or offer up any kind of political discussion. You don’t, nor I, need any more opinions being thrust upon us about the totally incomprehensible events we have witnessed happening in our country this past week, let alone all the other tragedies we’ve had to suffer through during the past several years. But it is difficult not to feel caught up in it all unless, of course, you view the issue from one perspective only, which means you are part of the problem. And that problem is, that we have not yet achieved the “more perfect union” that our founding fathers spoke of. Lately, I am wondering if we ever will. It seems our feelings about each other are growing farther apart instead of coming closer together.
One of the lessons of life that took me a long time to fully comprehend and accept, was that others I associate with do not necessarily think the same way that I do. That is why I believe there really is no such thing as “common sense” because what is common to me is not common to everyone else. We are all individuals, each composed of both the major and minor differences among us.
There was a time I instantly reacted to things that occurred around me. I would draw an immediate conclusion, which I always thought was based on common sense, and then I acted accordingly. This is what makes for a bad manager, of which there are so many. They exist not only in the workplace, but just about everywhere else. Of course, no one would fess up and come right out and say they are a bad manager, whether one manages other people, things, operations or oneself. Managing is a tough task because if you do not do it right you mess up lives.
This is why, at least I think, our country is in such a bad time and place right now. We don’t have good managers. Those we’ve chosen to lead our country and represent we the people are not thinking things through and managing us with regard to fulfilling our needs as well as theirs. They are simply reacting, assuming everyone else thinks and reacts the same way they do.
Getting along with others is pretty much a basic concept that we are hit with the moment we enter a school building at the age of 5 or 6. I don’t know if it still exists today, but when I went to school at that age, scrawled across the wall somewhere in just about every classroom was this simple, yet so complex, phrase: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is a concept that author Robert Fulghum discussed in his 1989 best seller, All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten. It’s a good read; I recommend it.
So we can argue from now to forever about gun control, equality, opportunity, jobs and all the other volatile issues we face, and it is all mere idle chatter that does not address the real problem in America today. Instead, walking around in each other’s shoes, or better yet, in each other’s skin, would help get us to where we need to be a lot faster.
One of the things that impressed me most about Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, was the speech he made across the street from Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 2008. After a long, press-ignited issue regarding his relationship with a perceived racist pastor, Rev. Wright, then-Senator Obama devoted the entire speech to the subject of race in America. He titled it, A More Perfect Union. Regardless of your opinion, or mine, of President Obama, his comments that day were eloquent.
What is disappointing—no, it is sad—is that after finally achieving the benchmark of electing the nation’s first black President, as a country we are no better off for it. In fact, we are wrestling even more with our racial issues than at the time when Mr. Obama spoke in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, there is no progress to report on the one critical reason on which he based his candidacy:
“I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”
Senator Barack Obama, March 18, 2008, Philadelphia
It would be a disgrace if our country burries all those who were killed last week and uses their loss to further the divisiveness that led to these terrible tragedies. There is no sense to be made of any of last week’s events, other than to learn from them…and that is the one thing that should be common sense to all of us.