Politics As A Template For Relationships

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

This week, John McCain, the senator and the former candidate for the Presidency, who returned to the senate after being defeated by Barack Obama, was so incensed at the Democrats for pushing through a health care reform bill, that he thought it was unwise legislation, that he said he was through working with the Democrats. “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year”, he stated.

Part of McCain’s popularity that brought him the Republican Presidential nomination when it was clear he was not the darling of the Republican leaders, was the feeling by the moderate Republicans who supported him in the primaries that he was a highly principled conciliator. That he could find a way to take his personal positions and by moderating them and finding a voice in the Democratic Party similarly inclined, he could move the country forward. His record in the Senate proved that, he ran on that, he received the nomination and he almost won the election in a year where a broken economy should have insured an easy Democratic victory.

Now, let’s talk about a relationship like a marriage or a friendship or a business partnership. Let’s assume one of the parties in the relationship does something that the other finds completely onerous. Let’s use cheating in a marriage as our topic. I am using it as an example because of the BIG business that is today in the media with Tiger Woods, Sandra Bullock, John Edwards moving from page 6 to page 1 in the newspapers. Is marriage doomed? Are years of living together, sharing love, children, major life events simply anecdotes in the relationship to be swept away by a cheating mate?

Maybe. It all depends on where the parties are in their relationship when the information is revealed. It depends on how both parties feel about the structure they built together and whether it’s worth saving.

One thing is sure. If one party in the relationship says the equivalent of “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year” or some other statement or position that shuts the door to talking together, working together, analyzing cause, seeing whether the relationship is salvageable, the relationship is indeed over. But, if the parties take a breath, give it a moment, then see if after the initial shock there is still enough left of the structure to work together and change the dynamics, there is hope. If there is a way to find building blocks to a rejuvenated relationship with the possibility of new happiness and new dividends, then keeping your mouth shut, or at least watching what you say and controlling what you feel may be worthwhile.

How John McCain, who clearly loves his country, can make a statement like the one I quoted is perplexing. Certainly, if, for the good of the country, he can find a way to cooperate, he should. I think he will. How the life of Tiger Woods and his wife unfolds is personally none of my business. But how people in general deal with each other in times of stress is my business. I don’t want to live in a world where people can’t take a breath and suppress their anger enough to try to find a rational solution to their problems. That world is an unpleasant and frankly a dangerous one in which to live.


That Wonderful Word Reform

November 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Remember working with clay? You took a big lump of the stuff and squeezed it and shaped it and molded it. If you were good, and I wasn’t, you ended up with something that looked like a pot, or maybe the head of a person you knew, or a log cabin. I ended up with something that looked a lot like what it started as, a lump. It remained un-formed. I couldn’t re-form it.

However, I was an untalented kid. I wasn’t some respected candidate for the United States legislature who promised to take the lump that was Healthcare in the United States and re-form it.

If I was, I would be expected to take the lump and form it into something that would guarantee that every American, regardless of whether he was sick or well, rich or poor, young or old, working or out of work, living in the north, south, east or west, needing healthcare at home or away from home, could get the best health care result that was available.

No I’m not naïve. I am well aware of the political pulls that motivate legislators and I know that a bill that doesn’t pass Congress is no bill, but I also know that if I promised to do something when I was elected and I didn’t do it, I would grab a cab to Union Station or Reagan International, get a ticket and go home and stay there.

Does it hurt more to be in pain or to watch someone you love suffer pain? I think watching is the greatest pain. The frustration and rage of being victim of a system that offers no help when that help could be available is incomparable.

So here is my message. There are priorities. Maybe the tax laws are unfair and they should be re-formed. Maybe the government of Afghanistan is corrupt and we should use our money and our efforts to re-form it. Maybe our financial structure needs more regulation and we should take the regulators and the regulations themselves and re-form them.

But of all the things that have to be re-formed, the one that affects the most people in the direst way is the health care delivery system.

Unless they go home and never come back, no legislator should go home from Washington for vacation until they take care of this. No one should carve a turkey or open a Christmas present if their job was to re-form the lump that was the American health care system so that it serves us all the way it should.

Come on guys, I know Christmas is still a bit away, but this is one piece of clay you should shape and bake and wrap so we can put it under our tree.  That’s what you promised us, isn’t it?


New Rules

July 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

The rules of marketing are now changing dramatically.  What has caught my attention is that the number one rule for effective marketing is now to offer something to your buyer or fan that means something to them instead of shoving down their throat, to buy your product.  In another words the focus has shifted to the buyer.

Good marketing now says that if you sell computers don’t talk about the computers you have for sale.  Instead make yourself useful, a computer guru of sorts and then people will trust you and want to come to you when they are ready to buy. This way you are building a community of future buyers.

My point is marketing, the busiest tool of capitalism, is now adopting a ‘be of service” attitude.  The motto now is; if you want to succeed create relationships.

The same is also taking place in politics.  Barack Obama understood that if he could make us feel like he was going to be a president that would listen to us he would have a better chance of winning, specially after eight years of a government that had done just the opposite.

What I’m trying to say is that marketing, politics, business, have now found out what people seeking for a more harmonic life have known all along; put yourself in someone’s shoes, listen to others, and make it personal and mostly create communities.

Is it possible that with technology, the web, the mobile, we now have a chance to have our voices heard and change the way we relate to one another?  Is it possible that we can now have a chance to impact governments and businesses with what we want instead of their own agenda of elections, power and money?  And are we as a people ready for that?