Thursday, 6 October 2016

The 50,000 Pound Lead Weight

This week, the President sat down and did an interview and someone quizzed him over lessons learned or how he changed in the past eight years.  The response?

"If you go back and you read speeches I made when I was running for the US Senate in 2003, or if you go back further and you look at statements I made when I was on the Harvard Law Review, my worldview is pretty consistent.”

In essence, there's simply not a lesson learned or different view over eight years.  In fact, there's no real lessons learned or different views in life since he was in his mid-twenties.

What's this say?

If I started counting lessons learned, common sense developed, and how I'd changed.....since the summer of 1977 when I left for the "big world"....it'd consist of a book of about 2,500 pages.  I admit that 500 pages would be dealing with finance, law, legal responsibilities, taxes, and business dealings.
At least 100 pages would involve how to deal with drunks, stupid people, doped up characters and nutcases.

Around 500 pages would involve international situations, politics, customs in foreign countries, and things that could get you into trouble if you said the wrong thing to the wrong guy.

Around 6 pages would offer wisdom and advice on the purchase of used cars.

Around 3 pages would deal with the choice of wine, beer or cocktails at ceremonies, fests, parties, or bar-b-q's.

Around 100 pages would involve advice on women.  If you were single, this advice might be helpful.  But on the other hand, it might cause to second-guess relationships and swear off all possible marriage ideas.

Around 2 pages would involve advice on both the Atlanta and Nashville airports.  There's probably some critical comments and harsh criticism on those two pages.

Around 40 pages would offer advice and wisdom over living in the shadow of Washington D.C. and how to avoid getting mugged on Metro, assaulted by thugs on the 'Green Line", and recommendations for the better greasy breakfast options in Arlington.

When I look at this comment that the President made, I just sit and shake my head.  He's basically saying that he was mostly an empty-suit when he started on the job of President, and will end as a empty-suit.  I hate to suggest this, but he leaves you very few options.

You get the impression that he often felt of himself as always being the smartest guy in the room, and he'd suggest something which the "yes-people" would immediately let him know that was brilliant and they'd jump all over that idea.  It's a sad display of executive skills but then.....we didn't really care if he had such skills to start with.

Just about every single job or action I ever took in life....always led onto lessons learned.  In the Air Force, I learned how to deal with stupid people who beg for a chance to repeat past mistakes and never go through a lessons learned moment.  As a manager, you realize after a while that such people need constant supervision and plans laid out to the ninth-degree....which force the stupid idiots to only do what was in the plan.

The curious thing about the President's admission is that after eight years....he says this without any hesitation.  Normally, it'd be something that you might not want to share.  But obviously in his case....he wanted to share this.  The Republicans sitting there in 2009 and grasping how things weren't arranged in such a way that a two-way discussion were possible....would say today that he never realized the impact of his narrow executive skills.  Without any lessons learned.....nothing ever got better...it just stayed the same.

In essence, this is a guy who is attached to a 50,000 pound lead weight.  He can't move forward.  He can't move backward.  He's stuck to the point where he is.  Historians will debate for the next forty years what exactly happen over this eight-year period, and probably leave the public with a marginal list of accomplishments.  It is what it is.....we asked for it and got it.

Trigger-Warning?

I'm showing my age probably because the word "Trigger-Warning" is kinda new to me.  I finally sat down last night and orientated myself to the phrase, and did some reading.

For a guy from Alabama or with a military background....one might think it's a sticker on a gun which just notes that the trigger might cause a round to be fired.  But in this case?  Trigger-warning basically means that you are about to discuss something which will cause distress among the people in the audience.

It's like you are going to bring up some hunting experience where you shot a rabbit, and the listener starts to enjoy the first part of the hunt, and then you get to the point where you fire the round and kill the rabbit, which disturbs the listener greatly and they start to freak out.

So, this trigger thing is most attaching itself to college campuses and classrooms.  After a fair amount of reading, my humble feeling is that a number of kids have lived fairly sheltered lives up until age 18.  They got reality does in shot-glasses and at eighteen....can handle a marginal amount of big-time reality.  If you started to talk up WW II, the death of dinosaurs, American Indians, or life in the depression era....some of these kids would freak out because that's way too much reality to handle.

How did we get this way?  My guess is over the past dozen years....young people just lived in a closet....never reading a newspaper....never watching the news....playing away at World-of-Warcraft....talking on the Kardashians with the buddies....watching Japanese cartoons, and the deepest conversation that they ever had by age eighteen concerned some episode of Amish Mafia.

Professors?  I get the impression that they are standing there in a daze and can't believe they've some naive characters sitting in the room....who'd go berserk if you explained the Civil War or POW camps in the Vietnam War.  It's almost like a phobia.....an irrational fear of reality.

You almost need a boot-camp deal for two weeks upon entering college now.  Give these kids a maximum dose of reality in the world.

Where things will go?  Imagine a thousand kids at some university who fret and worry daily about trigger-warning episodes, and trying to make it through four years?  Then, they go and get hired by Mr Jones at some business operation who really sets upon them, and dumps a ton of reality upon them the first week or two.  If you think this is crazy now.....just wait till they reach the first job....it'll go turbo.