Feb 232010

If you live in the good old U.S.A., and you don’t shield yourself from radio, television, Internet and newspaper, then you’re subject to continuous media bombardment. Buzzwords, taglines, pitch and spin, so rages the fight for your mindshare. It’s a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all, full-contact struggle for the American consciousness. Points are tracked in dollars and votes, and the prize is nothing less than control of a nation.

The rules for this fight are simple: find something you can sell and sell it.

Everybody’s selling: Madison Avenue is rife with talented practitioners, each with the knowledge and capacity to play to our desires. Hollywood excels at the allure of glitz and glamour. The American sports complex plays to our collective need for vicarious victory and accomplishment. They all want their share of our pocketbooks . . . of our minds.

Although focused far too much on greed, vanity and other unhealthy aspects of the human condition, we must forgive the buzzmeisters. It’s what they do; it’s their job. So goes the dance of the market economy. But industry and entertainment aren’t the only ones selling.

Market-speak has its place, but it’s nowhere near any substantive issues. Sales and marketing are about convincing buyers that you’ve got what they want. A well crafted pitch leaves no room for alternatives. But, when pitch and spin become the sole currency of exchange in dealing with issues of national importance, the People’s Bank of Trust may as well close its doors.

Political talking points are the party-line equivalent to slogan and tagline. To be useful, they must have some base in truth but stop short of lending any legitimacy to the opposing view. Like market pitch, they leave no room for alternatives. They’re about rallying the troops, about getting votes. They work well to define the sides, to divide the masses and ensure that the status quo is maintained. They serve their purpose, but their purpose does not serve The People.

Party rhetoric is the sworn enemy of progress. If we have any prayer of seeing a brighter future for America, we must find a way to engage in meaningful dialog. This means we must all learn to stop talking, at least long enough to hear what the other guy is saying, and not with the sole intent of forming a response. Dialog requires a healthy mix of advocacy AND inquiry. These are the required ingredients of resolution, and resolution is the stepping stone of progress.

As I’ve said before, We the People cannot wait for the PIP to lead the way. That’s how we got here in the first place. As Albert Einstein suggested, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” would be insane. We’re lost in a wilderness of our own creation, and a new trail must be blazed. We need all spin-slingers to check their guns at the door and agree to some new rules of engagement.

The hallmark of the new rules must be listening, for only if we understand each other’s perspective can we devise a solution that suits us all. The foundation must include acceptance that both sides of a debate offer value and insight, for only through this recognition will all feel heard. The process must avoid sound bites and empty rhetoric, instead engaging in real conversation, in open dialog. The objective must be unity and a striving for the greater good.

This may sound like a pipe dream, but that’s only because it’s so far from the norm. At least for the time being, here in the U.S., the Internet is the medium of The People. The barriers to entry are low, and the model is inclusive. Here online, we can have a dialog. We can expand our awareness, share in the pool of common understanding, and together start the flywheels of change.

Feb 172010

Personally, I’m pissed! America is going through the most dire straits in my lifetime, and instead of seeking innovative solutions, instead of tackling the difficult decisions required to move us through this crisis, our leaders remain engaged in partisan ping pong.   There’s a part of me that would really like to just string these PIP (People in Power) squeaks up by their feet. I mean, come on, enough is enough! They’re using us. My best interests sure aren’t being served. Are yours? It’s high time we demand those responsible clean this mess up.

So, just who are these folk?

Well of course, the people in power must be the big money folk. I mean, do you really think that technological issues are the reason that internal combustion is still the primary means of powering America? Hell no! We’re talking oil companies and the auto industry. The current economic crisis, healthcare, two multi-billion-dollar wars . . . can you say big banks, big insurance and big military? Ah, this is capitalism at its finest!

But wait a minute; big business shouldn’t take the whole rap. No, there’s plenty of blame to go around. After all, it’s government’s responsibility to “promote the general Welfare.” This is done, in part, through legislation and regulation that done properly should prevent incidents like the recent banking meltdown. The problem is that the very people charged with this responsibility, our elected officials, are far more concerned with their future than yours and mine. They sell their votes to the highest bidder. The buyer might again be big money, but it could also be big labor or big anything else with a large enough voting block.

Make no mistake about it, big money, big government and big labor together form the system that needs to change. They ride the tide of the American consciousness and they work diligently to control and manipulate it. A great national shell game, they keep us involved with an appearance of progress, but all the while control the outcome by ensuring that relations stay in dynamic tension and the status quo is ever-maintained. No meaningful reform can come from this system. As Albert Einstein so eloquently put it, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

So, don’t hold your breath waiting for the people in power to effect any real change. It simply doesn’t serve them.

No, we must turn to the real culprits, the people truly responsible for the lack of progress. We need to stand up, get serious, and . . . I’m sorry folks, take a good look in the mirror, because the guilty are none other than you and me. So long as we put up with a self-serving government, listen to biased media and seek retail therapy to salve our bruised egos, we’ve no one to blame but ourselves. We need real change, and real change can only come from The People.

Together we have the power to take back Our Country and usher in a new age of progress and prosperity. But in order to do so, we need to rise to a new order of consciousness. This new order needs to embrace the notion that we’re all in this together. It needs to understand that people are open to hard solutions, but ONLY after they feel heard. And before anything else, it needs to accept that We the People are the saviors we’ve been waiting for.

“We the People!” It has a great ring. Doesn’t it?

Feb 092010

Most people would agree that 21st Century life is riddled with issues and complexities that demand attention and beg for resolution. Globalization, an aging populous, and too many years of business-as-usual are all fueling a fire that threatens to burn our Country to its core. With each passing year, the roll call of major national issues continues to grow. This model can’t be sustainable.

I for one would like to see some solutions put into place. I’d like to see a national conversation about what ails us. I’d like to see people of all stripes come to the table, lay out their concerns, roll up their sleeves, lock the door and not give up until there’s agreement.  But the sad truth is that as a nation, we’re long on attention and short on resolution.

Technology and contemporary media team to ensure the most topics of significance get some spotlight. A thinking person would actually have to expend considerable effort to avoid at least a passing knowledge of the issues. So, the awareness is there. The issues have our attention, yet the solutions somehow remain always out of reach.

Pick your topic: be it the economy, healthcare, energy, Global Warming, or gays in the military, anything of substance will do. Turn on your TV or search the Internet, and you’ll find no shortage of websites, news blasts and talking heads, all of whom “know the real truth,” fully understand the topic, and want you to believe that their way is “the way.” So, with all of this wisdom and expertise, shouldn’t something get resolved . . . every once in awhile?

You’ve got to ask yourself, if the issues are known, understood and routinely given play, why do effective solutions consistently evade us?

Are the issues just too complex? Could it be that those fine folk, who so earnestly try to convince us that they have all the answers, really don’t know? Maybe it’s that, there are just so many answers that we can’t choose . . . or perhaps it’s something entirely different.

I agree that the issues are growing increasingly complex, and I must acknowledge the myriad ways to slice, dice and analyze them all. I’ll even give a nod to those who know more than I about the intricacies involved. But what seems obvious to this observer is that, in the battle for resolution, our enemy is Vested Interest.

The national response to all major issues is metered out based upon how it affects the stakeholders.  This is by design.  It’s as it should be. The problem is that the stakes that are considered are only those of the people who control the engines of change.

This is not to say that those who wield power are corrupt. Unfortunately, looking out for one’s own best interest is among the most basic of human traits. From the dawn of time, people in power have done whatever was necessary to stay in power. It’s no different today. The result is now and always has been the same.

Things don’t change for one reason: people in power don’t want them to — PERIOD.