Can You Make Change? (2017Sep06)


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Wednesday, September 06, 2017                                              6:16 PM

Can You Make Change?   (2017Sep06)

In the Era of the Stupid President, we are all searching for answers: How did this happen? Who voted for the con-man and why? Were we tricked by the media, by Russia, or by Trump himself? How can we validate online sources and avoid ‘fake news’? Will our country survive four years of deliberate malfeasance—and, if not, why is he not impeached yet?

But I think I’ve found a central issue: How do people deal with change? And the answer is: Really badly.

As we grow older, we fight against accepting the change in ourselves. When people are presented with a new idea, they tend to fight against hearing it, to fight against accepting it, and to fight against living by it. Americans, being ‘free’, have a tendency to overdo our fight against change—we often claim our right to be wrong (even when it hurts others—which removes it from the arena of personal freedom).

And, as a nation that does poorly with change, we are the most vulnerable country in terms of future shock and disruption overload. While electronics and microbiology and nanotech and DNA-sequencing transform global culture, erasing millions of old jobs and habits, creating millions of new challenges and changes—we experience the drag of a national culture that has learned to be oblivious.

While less than a tenth of Americans (I’m guessing) are actively involved in making the future, at least half of us are so uninvolved that we don’t even vote. Our academic standings have dropped compared to the rest of the world. Our manufacturers move jobs to make a quick buck, leaving us shouting about lost jobs—while robotics inexorably replaces all manufacturing work.

Instead of growing our country with unlimited free wy-fy, we make it a commodity—guaranteeing that wy-fy will be withheld from the most desperately hard-striving half of the country. Instead of making healthcare a universal right that we can all rely on (at a sixth of what we spend now) we support the insurers and pharmacists that see healthcare only as a cold-blooded cash cow. We the People? Sounds more like We the Entrenched Business Interests to me.

People, generally, don’t change. They will follow someone they respect into a new paradigm—FDR, JFK, and Obama are a few examples. But without an idealist who also happens to have charisma, Americans are lemmings. We’re in lemming-mode right now. We need a leader. Or we need to learn to deal with change much more courageously.

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President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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