By Charles Robertson
It was in another endless waste of time meeting when I recalled my Dale Carnegie training; I still have the booklet titled “Meetings – Quicker & Better Results.” They laid out a great plan on how to streamline meetings by showing how to identify problems, find solutions and create a plan of action. The thought hit me that we need to apply this on a much larger scale, as this is exactly what our country needs. This idea started forming while I was listening to WFTL 850 AM’s Joyce Kaufman radio talk show. A caller was going off on Obama when Joyce correctly pointed out that Obama was not the problem. The problem, she said, “was the majority of voters elected a President who was a community organizer with no experience, no voting record, no history of sponsored legislation and no qualifications for the office other than charisma and good speaking skills”. I couldn’t agree more. So then, how do we fix this? This is where the booklet comes in; let’s follow the steps.
Step 1. Ask everyone, “What is the problem?” Getting a consensus on this can take awhile as people are frequently divided on what the problem is. Since I’m holding this meeting in my mind, identifying the problem is easy; it’s whatever I say it is. I say the problem is American values have changed (for the worse). I say this because American’s elect presidents who reflect their values. The candidate’s platform is America’s wish list. Our values shape what issues are most relevant and the politician’s focused group-tested responses are formulated based on what we value. Based on past election results, I’m reminded of a saying that I’d revise to explain our situation. The saying goes, “Second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience.” As applied to politics, I’d rewrite this to say, “Barack Obama represents the triumph of hope and change over traditional American values.” Americans have come to ignore the resume’ and instead focus on the superficial…the feeling. What are the causes of this problem? Well, that’s step 2.
In step 2, everyone offers possible causes of the problem. I hear a lot of voices in my head (getting crowded in there) listing the causes. I’ll start the list:
- 1. God is being pushed out – Traditional values are taught in the family, but also taught and reinforced at church. Since the 70’s, church attendance has been in a steady decline. Growing secularism is a threat to our Republic as more and more people are turning to government over God; I’m reminded of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.
- 2. Liberal Hollywood – Most TV programming ignores “middle” America. We live amongst a Jerry Springer culture that thirsts for increasingly shocking sensationalism. While this culture may be a minority, TV programming caters to them. Anyone from the past viewing TV today would think we’re a violent, dysfunctional, over sexed, immature society. Americans, most of whom waste too much time watching this garbage, are influenced by what they see. Traditional American values are not just missing from the media, they’re ridiculed and attacked.
- 3. Liberal educational system – My daughter had a high school teacher, who several years ago, explained to his class that Republicans didn’t care about minorities, and then proceeded with his right-wing bashing. This type of foul behavior in our education system is prevalent and generally goes unchallenged unless it’s conservatives attacking liberalism. Our society used to value fairness, now it is open season on conservatism in an arena that should encourage healthy debate.
- 4. Apathy – How many times have you heard others say, “I’m fed up with politics” (or politicians), or “the system is broken – you can’t make a difference.” This is used as an excuse for doing nothing. Americans faced with rising taxes, continued unemployment, a toxic ever- increasing debt, loss of liberties, and growing government intrusion in our lives are content to do nothing more than…. complain; Activism and civic responsibility are values in decline.
- 5. Selfishness – Pick any special interest: abortion rights, gay rights, immigration, or Social Security & Medicare, and you’ll find an increasing number of Americans who are preoccupied with that interest…voting based on who promises them the most. Liberals are buying votes on borrowed dollars knowing that when the bill comes due, conservatives will be left to fix the damage. Conservatives are then attacked for hurting those interest groups. The American value of compromise has become a marketing game of putting forth only an illusion of mutual deal-making without real concessions being offered on either side. Americans are to blame for not holding their elected officials accountable and for putting their self-interests above the common good.
- 6. Broken families – Broken families on average require more government assistance. That assistance has grown in so many areas that it now rewards single parent households. Getting or staying married can cost you benefits. Children of broken families grow up dependent on government handouts, not learning the values of self-reliance, self-sacrifice, or the skills to improve their economic circumstances. Low-income, government-dependent citizens, overwhelmingly vote for the liberal who they see as their source of support. This self-defeating cycle feeds on itself.
- 7. The 2 Party Monopoly – While both parties bitterly engage each other, perhaps the one thing they share is their common interest in seeing that a 3rd party does not rise to power. After all, the seesaw, ebb and flow of political power, means that if they’re out of ruling majority favor now, the political cycle will eventually restore them to power. A viable 3rd party could change that dynamic and restore a value that proclaims we are a people that supports the best ideas. Money, lobbyists, special interests, and blind party allegiance have worked against a 3rd party, limiting our choices usually, to two; bad and worse.
Hopefully, you’re in agreement with some of these possible causes to our problems, because now you’re being invited in for the more important second half of the meeting, Step 3. The 3rd Step requires you to offer possible solutions. I need you to respond to this blog with your solution(s). I’ll list them, with your name, in the next blog. I’ll list everyone’s solution no matter how crazy it may sound, and then we’ll move to step 4. In step 4, we’ll select the best possible solution, which may be one idea or a combination of several. The final solution becomes our plan of action, because we’re here to act not study. With that in mind, let’s keep our solutions specific, doable, and local. We the people of the Tea Party need to step forward and fight to restore our values that are under attack. You joined to make a difference and now you’re being called to do just that. I’m waiting on your reply. Please, send your responses to: info@theBrowardTeaParty.com