Compromise = Winning

So this shutdown has really been an education in political dysfunction, bickering, and childish behavior. 


But when President Trump yesterday went on the air and provided a compromise solution whereby he gets funding for a 200 mile border wall/barrier and the Democrats get money for humanitarian relief at the border, high-tech sensors, and years of protection for 700,000 children that came to this country illegally (DACA) and another 300,000 for immigrants from designated countries that prevent their sage return (TPS)–it seems like everybody would come out a winner!


That’s negotiation.  That’s compromise.  That’s diplomacy.  


When President Trump did this, I thought he really won the day, especially when the Democrats rejected his proposals and offered nothing in return or as an alternative. 


Even if the other side disagrees with the solution, they can and should offer what their version of a compromise/agreement would be and so on between the parties–this way, they can negotiate until both sides get to the magical compromise that everyone can agree to and live with. 


What I learned from this is that regardless of your political leanings, the side that shows flexibility and compromise and the desire to get something done, is the side that wins the argument, period. 


Those that want it all or are simply obstructionist and haters are the big losers in the debate. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Does A Government Shutdown Feel Like

So its day 18 of the Federal government shutdown. 


The first couple of weeks wasn’t so bad, because it was the holidays and vacation time (“use or lose”), so I think most people didn’t miss work that much. 


Also, people got paid at the end of December, since the pay cycle is on a two week lag.  


For the first part of the shutdown, there is errands to run and things to catch up on–those things that you always wish you had the time for and well now you do. 


But by now, you’ve already done those errands and cleaned your house and car, shinned up your shoes, and even caught up on some reading. 


Then we also have the missed payroll coming at the end of the week. For those families that are on a single income, this is particularly hard, and even where one partner is working, still your income in cut in half. 


You can’t go out shopping like this!


You also can’t go anywhere–like away–because you need to be available to be back at work on a day’s notice–whether or not it looks like that day is ever coming or not!


Another concern for those that care about their work and getting things accomplished, is that work is like a moving train, and when there is momentum, things can get done–even at the “pace of government.”  But when you come to a full stop like this for an extended period of time, then it will definitely take some time to get everyone back on board the train and for it to get moving at a decent clip again.  Let’s face it, you can’t just turn people on and off like a light switch–you’re dealing with human beings with feelings, plans, and bills. 

Maybe the worst part about the shutdown is feeling like a pawn in the big boys and girls game of Washington Politics–even if you feel the border wall is important, which I certainly do, as federal employee, you still don’t want to feel like the sacrificial lamb. 


Why Congress and the President can’t compromise and give the $5 billion for the wall for something in return like immigration reform or even just give half and call it a day is really beyond my comprehension. 


Out of our $4.4 trillion a year federal budget, how does it make any sense to begrudge a couple of billion for a wall to bring order to the chaos at our southern border–can anyway say “caravan?” 


Let’s face it, drug smuggling, human trafficking, dangerous gangs and terrorists, and illegal crossings have no place in a civilized country, especially the United States of America.  


At some point, our politicians seem to have lost their passion for and dedication to what’s actually good for America and instead replaced it with identity politics and a sick insatiable greed for power, plain and simple. 


All sides need to be patriots and not political kingpins, and they need to give a little to get a little for the betterment of our country overall–maybe then we can move forward. 


And by the way, it would be great at some point to let us go back to work and do our jobs. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:


He said something I liked: 


Listen, empathize, and give a little. 


Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.


But we don’t live in a vacuum.


Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 


We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 


It starts by listening–not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 


But that’s not really enough. 


To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling–we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 


But that also isn’t enough. 


We can’t have it all our way–we need to give a little to get a little. 


No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 


We need to compromise–as long as it’s not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 


Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Election Day Dead 2018

This just seemed so perfect for election day this year. 


With the country torn asunder between left and right. 


We are the grateful dead of the U.S. of A. 


– Our political system is stymied and our representatives are only self-minded. 


The integrity of our founding fathers has vanished and last century’s great national hope has languished. 


Cause the liberals hate the conservatives. 


And the conservatives hate the liberals. 


All of my folks hate all of your folks, and everyone blames the Jews.  


– The Constitution has become malarkey, and the Bill of Rights now makes people snarky. 


Polarization and they’re a lyin’, fake news and no one is even tryin’.


It’s either my way or the highway, and everyone else can go to h*ll. 


– Throw a fit and curse your neighbor, chase the opposition to the wayward. 


Know that threats and violence are better than silence, and resistance means persistence. 


How could this have even happened, and you’re all on the wrong side of history.


– Are we making things great, and they’re only about hate.


Or are they racist deplorables, and we’re the self-righteous ennobles.


From the economy to trade wars, and from immigration to healthcare.


Why is it that we can’t listen, negotiate, compromise, and play fair.


– I don’t know why we’re even having an election.


When we only want to defeat the opposition.


Cause the Democrats hate the Republicans.


And the Republicans hate the Democrats.


All of the Obamanicks hate the Trumpeans, and vice versa is certainly true too.


– It’s up to everyone to put the country first and stop the bickering and the hate.


Practice patriotism and nationalism, tear down the walls so progress does not stall.


No one is all right and no one is all wrong, instead we’ve got to come together and just let everyone belong.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The DIVIDED States of America

Our nation is increasingly polarized with little to no tolerance of others wants, thinking, or actions. 


– First under Obama.


– Then with the election between Hillary and Trump.


– And now over Judge Kavanaugh.


The result has been some of the worst behaviors seen since the Civil War–with not only disrespect, restrictions on freedom of expression, but even threats and actual violence!


This nation is no longer the UNITED States, but much more like the DIVIDED States. 


And that just plays into our enemies hands and could lead us to eventually lose our very democracy to totalitarianism, dictatorship, and tyranny.  


So now may be a good time to review for yourself how many biases are driving your thought processes and behaviors and creating dangerous fundamentalists and extremists all around us instead of thoughtful dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. 


Here are 20 biases that may be affecting you more than you realize:


– Do you overestimate the importance of the information you have or feel good about (Anchoring,  Availability, and Choice-Supportive Biases)?


– Do you seek out and perceive information that simply validates your preconceptions (Information,

Confirmation, and Selective Perception Bias)? 


– Do you overemphasize information that is more recent or recognizable (Recency and Salience Biases)?


– Are you ignoring information that doesn’t “fit your script” (Ostrich Effect/Omission and Conservatism Bias)?


– Are you tied up in the groupthink of your peers (Bandwagon Effect)?


– Do you see patterns in random events or conspiracies that don’t exist (Clustering Illusion)?


– Are you overconfident in your thought process and conclusions (Overconfidence Bias)?


– Do you tend to overvalue the usefulness or success of something, but not recognize its limitations or failures (Pro-Innovation and Survivorship Bias)?


– Do you fail to take risks because you prefer certainty (Zero-Risk Bias)? 


– Does your thinking something will happen actually cause it to happen (Placebo Effect)? 


– Do you use the ends to justify the means (Outcome Bias)?


– Do you judge people by their race, class, gender, religion, sexual preferences, or national origin (Stereotyping)?


– Do you fail to recognize your own biases (Blind-Spot Bias)?


Perhaps if more people would open their minds to information and engage in genuine thinking and critical thinking, rather than a lot of fake news and hype, we would be a far better and stronger nation. 😉


(Source Graphic: Business Insider)

Justice Is Absent

This artist rendering of “Law and Disorder in the Court” reminded me of what is going on now with the nomination hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. 


This is not a vetting process, but political chicanery, as Dr. Christine Blaseley Ford comes forward with last-minute allegations of groping from a high school party almost 40-years ago. 


Being a #MeToo victim of a serial sexual predator in elementary school, I understand the severity of these acts and the injustice of the abusers going scot-free their whole lives. 


Yet the timing of this right before the Judiciary Panel vote, the single accuser, the 40-years that have passed without a peep, the lack of anyone corroborating the story, the holding of the accusation for almost 2-months all create at least an air of suspicion on this whole thing. 


I truly empathize with any victim of sexual abuse, and for that matter the victim of any violent abuse or assault, and I too seek justice for these victims.


However, this latest political theatre is once again undermining our system of democracy and the ability to get anything done. 


Trust in the system is broken because criminals go unpunished, and also because anyone can be accused of anything any time with barely a shred of evidence. “Innocent until proven guilty” has been chucked out the window. 


The breakdown of the system of cooperation, compromise, and commitment to progress irrespective of politics in the halls of Washington, D.C. is perhaps the biggest threat that we as a nation now face.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Cracking Heads–In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.


The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.


Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I’ve heard this term in the past used in the office setting:

“Cracking heads” to get things done. 

While war is war, I don’t think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone’s head–let along with a battle hammer. 


Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.


You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)