You’ve seen it on these pages many times. One of our fellow bloggers who writes almost exclusively about current events or politics attempts to lay out for our consideration a solution to one of the world’s diciest problems. And soon someone swoops in and wants to rehash the whys, wherefores, and especially, the whos that lead to the dilemma in the first place.
I learned early in my career as a manager of people that the one thing that prevents reaching solutions to almost any problem is the human desire to establish blame. I noticed that no matter how many times we circled the table and allowed team members to speculate about the cause of the problem, we never got any closer to a solution until we focused on “from this day forward.”
Some believe it is not possible to solve a problem without knowing how we got to that point. I certainly agree, if for no other reason than to avoid making the same mistakes going forward. But there is a vast difference between a timeline that delineates a chain of events that led to the crisis and circles on an organization chart that point out who on the chart took a misstep. There is nothing about that activity that does anything more than make the people who aren’t circled feel safe and smug.
The screw-ups, if there are any, can be dealt with at another time, in another place.
In our current Presidential campaigns, instead of telling us what they intend to do starting on January 2, 2013, our candidates insist on talking about what did or didn’t happen during the past three and a half years. Well, that’s fun for those of us who get off on verbal one-upmanship and blistering TV ads, but it gives voters nothing upon which to base an intelligent vote.
Even if one believes the incumbent President caused every problem the U.S. faces today –which is, of course, ludicrous – shouldn’t our next big decision be based on well-defined and specific action items aimed at economic recovery, improved foreign affairs, public education, the future of the military and the like? Does it really make sense for those who are supporting Mitt Romney only because he is not Barack Obama to do so without first finding out what Romney plans to do?
Obama has not lived up to the hype, but he has certainly amassed a hell of a lot more experience in the Oval Office than Romney has. If the train has skipped off the rails, the administration most capable of righting any mistakes made is the one currently in office. While the challenger, if he should be elected, is undergoing on-the-job training, the enormous pile of problems sitting on POTUS’s desk will be no closer to solution – in fact, they will sit there and proliferate.
If ever there were a time to think about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it is now. The blame for the mountain of problems will be sorted out by the historians of the future. No doubt their assessments will be an amalgam of multiple administrations over multiple decades. But in the meantime, it is imperative that our government leaders deal with the elephants on the conference room tables before they become an out-of-control, nation-ending stampede.
No amount of finger-pointing, fabrication of factoids, or vitriol is going to change the predicament of this nation. What we need from both candidates is real leadership – right now.