Nov 07 2016

Is This the End or Just the Beginning…

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.  Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past.  Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”   – John F. Kennedy

 

On the Eve of the 2016 US election, the range of emotions runs from bland apathy to utter terror.  Most will agree there is reason to be concerned based on the baggage that both major party candidates are chained to.   Regardless of who wins, the next president will face intense hostility and constant opposition.  In fact, it is quite possible that the loser will actually be the winner in the end.

 

And yet, as always, we must move forward and make the most of the situation regardless of what happens.  It is little consolation for those of us that can vote because it doesn’t seem there is any good option, but for the rest of the world that must sit by and watch from the sidelines, it is even more painful.  I know as I was a powerless bystander when Scotland voted to leave the UK and then most recently when the UK voted to leave the EU.  In both cases my life was significantly impacted and all I could do is watch as events unfolded.  So for all of us that must live with the consequences of the democratic processes of the day…here is a toast to what was and what will be!

 

Now for a word of advice (because I need this as much as anyone).  I suggest the following from Stephen Covey:

“Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence.  They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work.  Reactive people focus their efforts in their Circle of Concern – things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather.  Gaining an awareness of those areas in which we expend our energy is a giant step in becoming proactive.”

 

Wow!  This is good stuff Stephen – thank you.  And a few prayers can’t hurt no matter which Circle you spend your life in.

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Sep 03 2012

In about Five Months…

“What we collectively decide about how to bail out our economy, how we pull our economy out of a ditch and what rules we put in place to make sure this problem does not happen again, will shape our country for the next 50 years.  This is it.” – Elizabeth Warren

 

After surviving the worst economic wipeout of the past seventy years or so, I remain hopeful that those in positions of great influence and power will never allow this to happen again.  And yet as the end of the year approaches, there are some troubling issues looming once again here in the US.

 

About a year ago, we had the great debt ceiling stand-off.  The entire world watched with great anticipation as members of Congress duked it out before finally punting the issue about twenty yards down the field.  So in a few months we will be dealing with significant budget cuts to defense and non-defense programs at the same time we will see an increase in taxes…unless the two parties can somehow come together and get something right before the clock strikes midnight.  This doesn’t even consider the presidential election or what is going on elsewhere on the planet.

 

In case you are not aware, Europe is in a deep recession, China’s economy is slowing, India has all forms of trouble brewing, Russia is trying to keep a social powder keg on ice, and Japan is probably a little worse off than the US.

 

Will the world as we know it come to an end if Congress can’t get it right and avert the automatic budget cuts and tax increases?  I don’t think so, but the thousands of people that will lose their jobs combined with reduced spending will most certainly impact the economic recovery – and I don’t see how it will be positive.  Surely our leaders will take the proper course of action and avert more economic turmoil…surely…

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Apr 10 2011

Interesting Times Indeed

“It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor they are all equal now.” – William Makepeace Thackeray

 

For those who thought I gave up on the blog, I can understand why – but rest assured I have not.  It has been a terribly busy period in my life and something just had to give for a while.  Even now there are quite a few things that I need to get started on but I feel compelled to capture my thoughts before the moment slips by completely.

 

It would be an understatement to suggest that 2011 has brought great turmoil and change so far.  Going back a few months we saw regimes in Tunisia and Egypt fall in a matter of days or weeks.  Many other governments in the Middle East and North Africa are quite unstable and leaders are concerned they will encounter mass demonstrations or worse.  At this moment it seems the US, Britain and France are trying to help a ragtag group of rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and his government – for what legitimate reason I have no idea.  I suppose it is remotely possible that prudent leadership will gain power in these countries and bring a better future for the people, but I am far too cynical to believe it is likely.  In this region of the world, I think all we can honestly hope for is a reasonable level of stability under strong and often militant leadership.  Western democracy just doesn’t work very well as there are too many radical groups that will challenge power at any cost.

 

As if this isn’t enough to deal with, the Earth has been delivering some deadly natural distasters of late.  Haiti, Chile, China, New Zealand and most recently Japan, have all been rocked by terrible earthquakes.  Japan’s 9.0 earthquake was the worst in over 100 years and the subsequent tsunami wiped many coastal towns off the map and started a nuclear disaster that is still unfolding.  It is as if Pandora’s atomic box has been opened and no matter how hard the humans try, we can’t contain the deadly, seeping force from within.  Tens of thousands died from the earthquake and tsunami and more will die from radiation sickness at some point in the future.  I have many friends and colleagues in Japan, so this has been very difficult for me.  Japan is an amazing country and I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the Japanese culture.  If there is any good news from this disaster, it is that it happened in Japan where people will work day and night to fix the problems and rebuild what has been destroyed.  I know this doesn’t erase the death and destruction but it is my best attempt to consider a brighter side (as dim as it might be).

 

Finally we have the quagmire that is the United States right now.  The once powerful nation that is so divided and buried in debt that we can’t seem to figure out what to do – except start wars in the Middle East and North Africa.  I only hope that God hasn’t given up on us yet because it seems he is the only one that can save us from ourselves.  Time will tell and so we will just wait and see.  In the meantime we would all be wise to pray for a brighter tomorrow.

 

As I watch Charl Swartzel slip on the Green Jacket at Augusta National, I can’t help but wonder what the World’s Greatest Golfer, Bobby Jones, would think about the 21st Century.  Like me, he probably wouldn’t know what to think.

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