The best that America has to offer?

Posted: March 11, 2016 in Opinions and Observations, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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In my last job, it was my pleasure to report to the president of the company and the Executive Team in regular formal meetings.  My part was to present the thoughts, concerns and suggestions in any and all facets of product, services or communications that interfaced or affected the customer.  John Larson was the president at the time and he formalized this process as “The Voice of the Customer”.

I was to bring up any issues that we heard in the Call Center, Retail Store outlets, Social Media, Live Chat and other communications.  As part of his directive, I would not only give him and the Executive Team perspective from feedback we would hear ‘in the trenches’, but also to offer suggestions to improve customer experience, relieve processing delays or perceived road blocks to any and all customer interactions.  This report included everything from product design, repairs, support, marketing, communications and many other company efforts.

In his wisdom, John Larson realized it was important that everyone in the company understood what we were all there for in the first place, and that each of us had a role to play in how positively – or negatively we impacted our customers.  He understood the Executive Team might think they are successful and doing a great job in their own perspective fields yet still fail miserably in the customer’s eyes.

I bring this up in a political climate where watching the debates (from both parties) leads me to ask two questions from my usual sarcastic point of view;

1) Of all the talented and educated people in this country, are these candidates the best America has to offer?  Is this really the best we can do as a nation?

2) Who speaks for Americans?  I know there are party-faithful people out there but when I listen to the politicians that climb to the top of the heap I realize none of them speak for me.  I have not heard my concerns reflected for a very long time.

I also would like to make sure you understand that I do not ‘buy in’ to the common and fatal cultural mistake of blaming everyone else but me and criminalizing others for our problems.

There are politicians – policemen – civil servants – lawyers – teachers – people of faith – people without formal religious beliefs – immigrants – poor – or rich – that are dedicated, sincere, hard working and unselfish in their attempts to do what is best, even though it is not easy and certainly not appreciated.

I would love to help.  I thought about entering politics at an early age as a noble way to serve my country.  I still do.  But then President Kennedy was assassinated.  Then Bobby Kennedy was struck down and to my horror the list kept growing.  As my last name is Kennedy, that talked me out of politics quickly.  Maybe I let ‘them’ win.  Maybe that is what they wanted.

And here we are.  Voters that believe in ‘democracy’ only as long as they are in the majority.  Only if they continue to control every aspect in our lives and can influence each decision to make sure they fit their beliefs or allow them to benefit from disadvantaging others.  Powerful people that feel it is their option to take as much as they want from whomever they can; because they can.  If you make the laws, you can never be convicted of breaking the law.

Does it make sense to elect more and more politicians from a narrowing list that only includes the wealthiest candidates?  Do we benefit most Americans when the rich only talk to the ultra-rich to decide what policies, laws and directions our nation will take?   Who speaks for Americans?  More importantly, who listens?

Listen to those with other opinions.  They are not your enemy simply because they have a different perspective.  Read more than just ‘bumper stickers’ to make your decision.  Go out and vote.  Pick the lesser of two evils until we get a real choice.

Comments
  1. Victoria says:

    Give em hell, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you but the job of President is a difficult one. I guess we are a bit stuck between finding honest politicians and those who actually want the job.

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      It is not only a difficult position but almost impossible to accomplish anything you want. With a near 50-50 split, you have as much resistance as support no matter how good your ideas or plans for the country are. I think of being a police officer. I admire and respect what they do and try to do, but you could not pay me enough to consider the job. As other comments here indicate, we have to ask ourselves what kind of person wants to ‘do whatever it takes’ to be President, and should we elect them because they can?

      Like

  3. I’ve always agreed with Churchill when he said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

    Just my quick two cents. A major flaw in who gets to be in the position of being nominated or elected for this or that is that, especially in the superficial hyper-media world of today, only those, generally speaking, who have a massive ego and seek power for power’s sake have the motivation to go through the political grind.

    It is kind of like why those who rise to the top of big companies are in general narcissistic sociopaths (*cough* Trump *cough*) because that is what it takes to get up each morning and focus solely on nothing else but winning (making money) winning (making money) winning (making money) at the expense and suffering of everyone else if need be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      If only we had candidates that showed wisdom seen in history, learned from those lessons, and had the courage to communicate to those that find it hard to listen. Great point. I find the similarities with big business in a similar fashion. Some companies are fine to simply build a great product and innovate. Others cheat, steal, break rules and hide the truth in order to ‘succeed’. Yet it seems the only politicians we get the opportunity to vote for on a national level meet your description. Thank you for your comments – I always learn and am often comforted. If you run for office, please let me know!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I would have to start the Bipolar Anxiety Party [BAP] :0

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        Ha Ha! You have been working on that one for a while! I’m in!

        Liked by 1 person

      • In an insane society, only the sane shall appear insane.

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        I fit in just fine then!

        Liked by 1 person

      • None Other Then Hannah says:

        Carson was the only one who did…and I respect him for that…hopefully he will be in the cabinet or able to influence in some way shape or form…

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        It seems that the primary process almost by design makes enemies of competing candidates. This creates wounds that are hard to heal as they have told the voters why their opponents are not worthy of the job and focus on their ‘mistakes’ during the campaign. It is hard to suggest ‘the loser’ as a partner after the battle is over.

        Liked by 1 person

      • None Other Then Hannah says:

        I find that not to be the case, but I understand your view point. Carson like myself has faith, and that is the one staying power behind his character, the way he conducts himself etc. The ‘retorts’ are so idiotic about him ‘he’s not black’ well then excuse me so because he made something of his life, stuck to a moral system it rubbed you the wrong way? or is that code for something else (rhetorical to the crap being spun by both sides) the faith I have has stabilized me and has been the reason for moral myself but it’s human nature to criticize someone who stands for what is right…and or dose not fit the propagated mold thereby causing the blah blah blah to sound hollow and silly…

        Like

  4. juliadeniro says:

    If Trump or Cruz win, I will kill myself. Because any country in which one of these men can be elected by the people to lead is not worth living for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I can understand a politician that truly thinks they are doing what is best, even if I do not agree with their plan. I also have a hard time when politicians think their plan is the only thing worth considering and will stop at nothing to achieve it, while claiming to be a patriot.
      For me, homicide and suicide are not real options LOL. So if you feel the need to do anything dramatic, please give me a yell first! Maybe Canada will accept us!

      Like

    • None Other Then Hannah says:

      no may I suggest you move away with Ms. Cyrus as she has stated she will do so were Hillary not elected…

      Liked by 2 people

      • midimike says:

        …….. the process of electing candidates added to the power of money interests make it impossible to find the best candidates, regardless of who wins or loses. In this system, only the powerful and rich win, whether a particular candidate or a particular party wins the election will not change this fact. No matter who wins, most Americans lose.

        Liked by 1 person

      • juliadeniro says:

        I may move away, but since I don’t like Miley Cyrus, I think I’ll go alone. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      • None Other Then Hannah says:

        good thinking, I’d just construct a bubble for her to go into forever orbit with or something…but that’s just nerdy moi 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tom Benedict says:

    VERY WELL SAID!

    For what it’s worth we had a discussion along these lines at work, but from a different perspective. This ties into your question, “Is this really the best we can do as a nation?”:

    We’re planning a complete re-vamp of our facility at work. It’ll involve popping the top off our building, gutting most of what’s inside, rebuilding everything from scratch, and putting a completely new top on the building. It’s expected to take at least ten years to complete the project. We’re just in the planning phases now, but we’ve already hired a number of engineers and designers. Every one of them came in with experience with this type of thing under their belt. Many of them came in with elements of what will be our eventual design already in hand. But the most important thing they came in with was a plan.

    If you look at it from that standpoint, the job of President of any country is essentially a fixed term contract job with an option to renew based on performance. It’s certainly wider reaching than a general contractor building an office building, but the idea is the same. Each of the potential hires for the position of President is coming to the interview with all sorts of ideas, some useful and some not, but nothing resembling an actual plan. If these were contractors I’m not sure I’d hire any of them. We know exactly what our options are in terms of baseboards and trim colors, but with all the hand-waving and finger-pointing no one has mentioned installing bathrooms or how much all of this is actually going to cost.

    And the one question you always expect to get from a general contractor hasn’t yet been asked: “How do you want this to look?” That’s where your story from your previous employer really comes out. I don’t think any of them know, and none of them are asking.

    As cynical as this sounds I do take your last paragraph to heart. I do go out and vote. Every… single… time… I just wish I wasn’t going to the polls wishing there was a box that let me vote for “No”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Great response and analogy. Many in my company laughed, scoffed, made my reports difficult and even used them to circumvent what the customers were clearly requesting. It was like now that they knew what was asked, they tried to make it even more difficult! I give the credit to Mr. Larson for not only asking the question but trying to get others to listen. None of us know. I am the first one to say I do not. But I am also the first one to ask others and then try to find agreement, resolution and design a plan that takes all considerations into account. No matter what, many will be disappointed or even angry. If we weren’t so polarized (in part by corporate media) I would think there is a chance. Until the time comes when we realize our neighbors are not our enemies, I will continue to vote, no matter how cynical the choices are. I do believe in Democracy. Thank you so much for doing the same. And your great comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. nikgee says:

    I don’t even know where to begin. My first observation is everyone is talking and nobody is listening. There are good things being said on both sides of the fence. Yes, you heard me right .Both sides of the fence. BUT until that fence is knocked down and a dialogue is established… Dialogue is a conversation, an exchange of words , ideas, and/or concepts. Give and take on both sides equally. Until we establish this dialogue we are wasting our time. Just yelling at each other over the fence.

    My second point is whatever form of government, be it capitalist, socialist, communistic,or the many more I don’t have room for none ascribe to natures law of giving and receiving.What is received a portion must go back. If I may use a few examples. Planting a crop year after year without fortifying the soil will lead to a barren field. Example the dust bowl in the mid 1900s. That would hold true of all our natural resources. We cut down trees,we need to plant a tree. I live in the U.S. our system believes in having the ability to gain monetarily. Another words make lots of money. And there is nothing wrong with that. BUT, this is the BIG BUT,you can not take and take and take. You must GIVE something back. That is how it works. If I have a million, how many of them do I need to live. How many vehicles does it take from point a to point b. How big of a home do you need if you fly solo, with a spouse, and or with children. How much food do you need to live. If everyone just took what they needed there would be no one in need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Your response is great. To the first point, I understand the need to have fences. Got to keep the cattle or the dog in the yard! But in the past there have been gates or doors or open areas where we can get out and let others in. In the last few decades it appears so many have welded the gates shut. If someone knocks on the door or comes to the gate we threaten to shoot them. No one gets in – nothing gets out. No ideas. No compromise. No understanding. To me that means no hope.
      And the connection to the dust bowl is absolutely true. Blindness to the facts do not make us right or safe. Warnings were out there and similar warnings are here now. History can give us a great advantage if we open the book.
      This planet and its people have suffered too often from those who feel power, bigger guns or more money gives them the right to take from others – not for survival or defense, but simply to have more of the same.
      Thank you for a thoughtful response. I am glad you are on this planet with me!

      Like

      • nikgee says:

        It is refreshing to meet someone else who is actively perceiving the world around us. Thank you for sharing your strength and understanding with me. We so need each other, especially in this troubling time. We are social creatures seeking the love of others and to live in peace with all. Thanks again and I wish you well as you continue your message.

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when observations so clearly lead to one conclusion. Thank you for understanding. You are absolutely correct. Peace to you, my brother.

        Like

      • nikgee says:

        Very cool there are two of us. Can grow to four if we find one other. 4 to8. That’s how it can work. Then they have to listen too many of us talking

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        It is also my experience that there are far more honest, thoughtful and intelligent people in the world, but they do not make the news. That is not what sells these days. I think we are actually the silent majority just waiting to find a voice.
        Yes, I am also an eternal optimist!

        Like

      • nikgee says:

        I must admit I get discouraged at times . Feeling like I am walking alone . Then some one comes along and walks with me a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        Separation is part of the strategy. If we feel we are alone, it takes the wind out of our sails and we sit in the harbor. Sometimes we need to get out into the deep waters to see how many other ships are sailing in our direction (so to speak). Fortunately, we don’t need to take the same route to reach the shore.

        Like

  7. Heartafire says:

    To think that this is the best, that this is our assembly of presidential candidates is sad and very discouraging…I know this is not the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      It can be very depressing if you think about it, and unfortunately I think about it a lot. The job is so complex and demanding, and I fear none in this group are up to the task to even find the right advisers (because they think they know all the answers already)!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heartafire says:

        I am debating the lesser of the evils right now, it’s going to be a tough vote.

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        I think flipping a coin is as likely to be correct this time around. I try not to influence and do not want to pry, but I do want all Americans to talk about what is really important for the country as a whole. Ohio primary is soon and I will have to make a choice (or take a coin in the booth with me just in case).
        Thank you for the ‘internal debate’. It might be the most important one this political season LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Azul Zaffre says:

    I’m with Victoria: Give ’em hell, Mike! Tell you the truth, I hate election years–it’s the same old same old bs every time. Do you ever watch Rick Mercer?–Canadian guy–so you may not get their TV channels like I do in the Pac NW. Anyway, he’s hilarious and brilliant, and he does a political rant in each 30-min episode, and he doesn’t play favorites. This past week he commented that, suggesting Trump’s run for the Oval office was like ‘reality TV’ was incorrect–as, Trump for President is “just stupid”; he further said that it wouldn’t surprise him if Trump picks Honey-Boo-Boo for his running mate. In addition, he was down on young Trudeau, up north–so ended by throwing his hands in the air, as to which country would be better/worse to live in, the way politics are going in both 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Ha, thanks! I will try. I have not seen Rick Mercer, so I will have to look into his show. It may be available here and sounds interesting. I am in a swing state so we get hit hard heavy and continuously with political ads. Unfortunately it is a big show to many this time around. It has been all about ‘ratings’ for years now, but not so blatant. And that is part of the problem; we are all talking about the show, and not about the important issues or what candidates are actually going to do about them. Not that they would be able to do what they want even if they do get elected! Thanks for the comment and Mercer tip!

      Like

      • Azul Zaffre says:

        I agree with you, that it’s become a show–and doesn’t address the real issues of most real people. Beyond sad, leaning toward reprehensible…

        You can see Rick at RickMercer.com 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        Beyond sad, beyond ludicrous. I still have hope we will realize the direction this takes us and change course. We would still need a captain!
        Thank you for the reference.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Mike in 2020! Go for Mike! Seriously though I do not think these are the best, but the machine of politics has chosen them. Sad it is very sad. Go for Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. annamadeit says:

    Great question, Mike. I have to say, I refuse to believe that this is the best we can do. That said, I doubt myself all the time. I think part of the system is antiquated and needs an overhaul. more recent tweaks have also been extremely damaging. So, first up, let’s do away with Citizens United. If only those with big money-making machines can make a serious run for office, we are already in a situation of capital inbreeding, of sorts. It makes for a very exclusive shortlist. Second, I think we should do away with the Electoral College. That would wipe out the ever so rampant gerrymandering. After the playing field has been thus leveled, perhaps a clearer picture with a broader spectrum of potential, viable candidates might emerge… A girl can dream, right….? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Such a beautiful dream. I think those are required steps. I do not think that will completely even the playing field but at least we will be playing the game with fair rules! Times are changing and we need to make a few more tweaks just to keep up. I like the phrase capital inbreeding. That sums it up rather well.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. James says:

    I agree with this. Unfortunately, US presidential elections nowadays do seem to boil down to “who really badly wants the job and has millions of dollars burning a hole in their pocket?” rather than “who might be good at the job?”. In British elections, the money issue isn’t so obvious, but you can still often look at the policies of the different parties putting up candidates and think “is this really all the choice we get?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      The thing is, I don’t expect the president to be an expert in everything. It is virtually impossible these days. Nor do I expect them to be the moral compass or scientific authority. I do expect them to listen to those that are experts, not just who has the most money or who can yell the loudest. These days that is wishful thinking. Listening to the voters is also a good idea, but just because the majority sides one way or another on a particular issue does not mean they are always well informed. No easy answer.

      Like

  12. Tom Robinson says:

    Yes. Go out and vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Freddo F says:

    I’m a brit, so I don’t have the same connection that you would have with this issue. But I find myself staring into the gaping void with nihilistic terror when I hear how popular Donald Trump is, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and the rest of them are. Don’t get me started about Ben Carson, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I imagine the perspective given the news media we generate can be almost frightening. I keep up with BBC News America to try to get a feel for how this looks outside the US. Fortunately, the BBC reporting is much more detailed and ‘centered’ than we see from most network news outlets. Still, I can understand the ‘sky is falling’ conclusion.
      At this point we simply try to do the best we can with what we have!

      Like

  14. Freddo F says:

    Good attitude, sir 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. thoughtseeds says:

    Well said. My husband was a state senator for sixteen years. It was a miracle he lasted that long, because he insisted on doing the right thing, not what he was being pressured by power and money to do. He lost his last election after he refused to cave to threats. True to their word, they ousted him with expensive lies. I have begun to believe that the really good people are doomed. Money carries the power, and money is rarely concerned about doing “the right thing” for the masses.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi midimike. I watch with interest the elections in the USA. Beginning to look scary! Does democracy still exist? Thank you for liking my poem Parallel! Peace and Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Hello! We have been on this path for a while now. It is now becoming so obvious but media outlets still pretend this is what democracy looks like. They help create the circus we are forced to watch. It is scary. You are quite welcome and thank you.

      Like

  17. Donald Baker says:

    The government/party elites and corporate America elites are shoving these candidates down our throats. I have been asking “is this the best they can do?” for a while now. Yes, the country is split about 45/45 with 10% doing whatever they are doing. But I believe that left and right can coexist. Most people are reasonable and realize that not everything can go their way. It’s the elitists that are throwing a wrench in everything. The American people need to take this country back from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      That is exactly the point I was trying to make and I appreciate you knowing this. We are in a time when the elitists are using wedge topics to ‘create’ division solely for their personal and professional benefit and gain. Taking America back is a popular phrase but misused in my opinion. We do not need to take it back from the other 45% as you stated. They don’t have it either, and are also trying to take it back! Great comment and thank you!

      Like

      • Donald Baker says:

        Thanks Mike. I didn’t state myself accurately. You are correct, one side does not need to take the country back from the other 45%. Both sides are the American people and need to take the country back from the political and corporate elites who have set themselves up as our ruling class.

        As far as this Presidential election, what I would like to see is the far left candidate, Sanders, vs the far right candidate, Cruz. The second place finisher becomes the VP. it’s a fantasy, I know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        My pleasure. I think I understood your intention, so you did fine. Both sides – including independents as you mentioned – are the American people!
        I have my own fantasy as well. I imagined (maybe somewhat naively) that the best way to heal and to direct the country in the long run is to have one-person-one-vote for President. The one with the most votes is the president and the runner up is the vise-president. Yes, there are probably a lot of downsides to this simplistic suggestion, but I am willing to give it a try at this point LOL!

        Like

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