Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bad News–Potentially Fatal If Ignored

As I watch my various sources of information today, I am struck by an interesting disconnect.

From the world of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, CNN, Fox News and everyone else, I see mostly a cacophony of noise around things like:

1. David Cassidy seeking the “Partridge Family fortune”

2. A-Rod to be questioned about involvement with poker games.

3. Justin Bieber considering recording a new album with

Blah blah blah blah.

Unfortunately most of it is not news – it is entertainment presented as news.

Meanwhile, I don’t see the “air waves” being torn up over the fact that the Dow fell over 500 points today (about 4.31%), dragged down by the current state of affairs in the world and specifically within the US itself.

And that really worries me.

The news should concern us as it comes amidst a pile of troubling indicators. 

But what I worry about the most is that the people most affected by it, the average person on the street, doesn’t seem too concerned as they tweet, share and muse about everything but the things that will impact them and their families for a long time, potentially generations down the road.

Einstein’s Law of Insanity … again ….

Maybe they are trusting politicians to get us out of it.  That would be fine, except that up to now, it’s been the decisions by politicians that contributed to this mess and if Einstein’s Law of Insanity has anything to say about it, it would be silly to expect a different result to come from the same people who continue to use the same knowledge and approaches.

This reminds me of Gerald Weinberg’s Bread Recipe Rule; that if we use the same baker, ingredients and recipe, we will always bake the same bread.

Consider these elements:

1. The Baker(s) – the politicians who have been following specific policies for decades, unwaveringly.

2. The Recipe – the economic policies being followed, spending what we don’t have without any strategic plan that REALLY goes beyond the horizon of the next election regardless of what is promoted.

3. The Ingredients – the mix of indicators that keep telling us that we are making economically / societally / ecologically unsustainable choices but we keep making them anyway.

The Time article “What US Economic Recovery?: Five Destructive Myths” puts a lot of the current myths about our recovery into strong perspective and is a HIGHLY recommended read.

I am not worried about the drop on the Dow.  The market rises and falls.

What I worry about is that the average person who will REALLY be affected by this is either not paying attention to it, doesn’t understand it or is trusting someone else to fix it.

Fixing it would be wonderful if someone were trying to strategically correct our challenges with new thinking as outlined in the Time article and other articles.

But they are not, which is what really worries me.  And we don’t seem to care, which worries me even more.

One If By Land ….

Many of us are familiar with the line “One if by land, two if by sea”, Longfellow’s poetic description of the alerts used to describe the British troops preferred method of invasion.

What about if our greatest enemy now is from within – within our own policies, lack of strategy, lack of tactics, lack of creative thinking and lack of interest?

We face the greatest challenge to our way of Life that we have ever seen.  That being said, today’s news is neither good nor bad.  It is just information.

It’s what we are NOT doing with the information that makes it bad news.

Do we care enough to learn about what’s happening and what our options are or would we rather know what color Lady Gaga’s outfit will be in her next concert?

Which do you think will be of better use to you and your family in the uncertain times that persist?

Exactly – so what are you waiting for?

We need to show our families, communities and country that we expect and demand better.

While we still can.

In service and servanthood,



  1. Here is an example - this alert was just sent to my phone as a critical news alert. With all the stuff we need to fix in the world, this shouldn't register as news:

    A Texas jury Thursday found polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty of two counts of sexual assault.

    Jeffs was charged with sexual assault on a child after a 2008 raid on a ranch near Eldorado, Texas, operated by his church.
    Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, represented himself in the trial, which started last week. He also faces one count of bigamy, and is expected to be tried on that charge later.

  2. Wow! Great article Harry. You make so many great points it is hard to find where to begin with my feed back. :)

    I could not agree with this statement more "the average person on the street, doesn’t seem too concerned" and I some of the root cause is people have become so politically correct that discussing politics in any setting has become a total taboo. So how do we get the word out to these people whom are fearful to speak about the very subjects I used to speak freely about even when I was serving our country in the USAF? As a person who tries to make a difference and set the example it is difficult to connect with people whom are so connected to their social media. You are correct that they appear to be more worried about what someone posted on their Fackbook or bragging about their material possessions or letting people know where they are dining instead of hearing about the state of our Nation. How boring it is for people who are so shallow to want to hear about some of our fellow Americans who are losing their jobs and homes. No chance of that happening to them...right?
    You also hit the nail on the head with, "our greatest enemy now is from within – within our own policies, lack of strategy, lack of tactics, lack of creative thinking and lack of interest?" It is very evident from the programing that is televised today that we have lost our creativity as a country.

    At times I feel overwhelmed at where to begin to help enlighten others. So much information to I start at home with my family.

    Thanks for sharing this article.


  3. Unfortunately, one of the reasons that our elected officials don't have any strategic focus is because the general populace doesn't vote based on strategy. They vote based on platitudes such as "Hope" and "Change". Well they had hope, and now all they have left is some change.

    Political campaigns appeal to the excitable fringes, because that's where the turnout is. Have you ever read any of the Federalist Papers? That's how you challenge an educated populace to see your vision. We don't challenge the populace anymore, we rile them up.