Nation’s most important construction project is each other
By Mark Lusky
How many of you wanted a constructive presidential campaign that talked positively about issues and platforms?
We all know what we got—just the opposite.
Unfortunately, that’s a natural consequence of a culture that seems to rank ripping people, places and possibilities to shreds over developing constructive outcomes. This movement knows few bounds. Long-established institutions—from schools to sports teams—have had their reputations destroyed over one unproven allegation.
One mistaken or off-color remark can destroy a person’s stellar career.
In the court of public opinion, especially if it involves such a sensitive issue as race, religion or sexual misconduct, the target often is obliterated before the facts come out. Even if ultimately found “not guilty,” the court of public opinion often continues to propagate damaging innuendo. And, the rampant increase in “fake news” and “alt-facts” (fueled in part by Trump and his team) is creating further consternation.
And, of course, the mainstream media deserves its share of the credit…or blame—depending on your point of view.
Political correctness is a demolition machine
Too many reputations and contributions have been destroyed in the name of political correctness. In 1981, family friend and physician Abraham Kauvar resigned as president of New York’s health and hospital system. A New York Times report attributed the ouster to a colloquial expression he used when discussion hospital planning. Unfortunately for him, it contained the N-word and a reporter heard it.
I knew Abe; he was no racist. One misplaced word in one misplaced circumstance led to the departure of the pioneer who had created the first public neighborhood health clinic system in the country as head of Denver’s hospitals. The “punishment” didn’t fit “the crime,” but politically-correct hacks and minorities would have none of it.
I would hope that I could exercise more discretion and common sense if confronted with an unintentional slur to my heritage. I’m Jewish—and in fact have cut people more slack than the witch-hunters who went after Abe Kauvar. Ironically, many of the beneficiaries of his Denver clinic legacy have been minorities.
Condemn “witch hunts” along with obsolete bridges
Left-leaning political correctness is now being overshadowed by outright lies, degradation and demolition derby that is the Trump administration. They’ll say anything about anyone at anytime. It’s the anti-politically correct movement.
Both ends of the continuum are focused on tearing down, not building up. It’s the hallmark of Congress. It’s the way of the world for many US citizens who think they’re building themselves up by tearing something or someone else down.
In Trump’s world, winning not only means prevailing but making the other side losers. There doesn’t seem to be room for collaboration and cooperation, beyond the thinly-veiled “art of the deal.”
Based on his statements and actions to date, it will be very interesting to see if real compromise and positive change can come from all the rhetoric. If it does, and win-win accords can be achieved, Trump and his minions will deserve the credit. But, if everything winds up winner-takes-all, the denizens of the United States are in big trouble.
Trump only has until 2018 (if that long) to assemble a win-win agenda. Given the current configuration in the Senate, it won’t take many Republicans to side with Democrats to block him—and at the rate he’s going, that could happen in the coming months.
None of this should be just about thwarting Trump, anymore than it should have been about stopping Obama. Let’s all get rid of the rhetoric and try as hard as possible to find common ground on the left-to-right pendulum—which likely leads us back to Aristotle and “everything in moderation.”
Here are a couple ways “We the People” can begin working toward collaboration and empowerment instead of vilification and destruction:
- Write the “story” objectively. Put yourself in the mind of a reporter tasked with providing a balanced account of an issue or personal incident around which personal feelings strongly support one side. Often, when confronted with the need to look at both sides of the issue, people will discover constructive, positive solutions that truly can benefit everyone to some degree.
- Aim for middle ground versus proving yourself right and the other party wrong. Larry David, of Seinfeld fame, once said, ““A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied.” Nobody loses. Everybody wins at some level.
- Cut everyone a break, until you have factually-based reasons to do otherwise. Regardless of how emotionally charged or volatile a situation becomes, take a step back and breathe. Think about how all parties involved might be impacted. (And, if it will help center your processing, think about how Trump often speaks his mind without consulting it first. It’s not an attractive quality in a president or anyone else. While your stakes may not be as high as his, it’s almost always beneficial to think mindfully before engaging one’s mouth, email or text programs.) In all of this, consider such important factors as track record, longevity, reputation and accomplishments of the parties involved.
Mark Lusky, aka The Happy Curmudgeon, has voted for Democrats, Republicans and a Libertarian in presidential elections going back 30 years. As the owner of a 34-year-old, Denver-based marketing communications firm, he is a political malcontent who views “winning” as a cooperative versus competitive endeavor. Sorry, Donald.