Nike Is A National Disgrace

Nike recalled their sneakers from retailers with the Betsy Ross American Flag.


And they did it right before Independence Day this Thursday.


NIKE is a national disgrace!


Nike, should be standing strong to proudly display the American Flag, but rather they are like the Evil Axis, Iranians, that put it on the heel of their shoe–step on it and spit on it.


This is what we get as a nation when patriotism is turned on it’s head, and people that want to bring down this country and destroy it are instead elevated as spokespeople and even fraudulent politicians for it.


Who would’ve thought after 9/11 that America would self-destruct from enemies within rather than from without. 😦


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Election Disillusionment

mars

So invariably you hear these days from those that dislike one or the other candidate running for President, that if he/she wins, they are moving out of this country. 


That is apparently how strong people feel in terms of dislike for the candidates–in fact, the most disliked candidates in American history!


Well, I ran into this couple in the Metro.


They were from New Jersey and visiting Washington, D.C. with their daughter. 


They were wearing matching t-shirts that said:

“Election 2016Time To Move To Mars”


Now moving from the USA is not far enough away for people to get from the horrible politics and/or politicians that they can’t seem to stand…so next stop is Mars!


As a big time proponents for colonization of other planets, I think this may actually be one of the best things to come out of this election cycle. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Poli-trick-ians, No Way!

Barn

So periodically, I like to take a quick pulse of America.


So I find a way to ask someone(s) what they are seeing and experiencing, and what they think about what’s going on in Washington, D.C.


So this time, I asked someone about whether they watched the State Of The Union this week. 


The answer?


No way!


Why not?


They said (as if they heard this little mnemonic from others before), “because, they are all ‘POLI-TRICK-IANS!'”


I said, well that’s cute, but what do you mean?


This is what they said (paraphrasing):


– They don’t speak the truth.

– They just say what they think people want to hear. 


– It’s all just fighting between the (political) parties. 


– It’s not really about the people. 


– It’s not about making a difference, anymore [just about being in and keeping power].


Wow, this was pretty powerful. 


I could sense the anger and frustration. 


Also, the disillusionment. 


Checking in on the ratings, this seemed to jive with CNN (and other news media) saying, “State of the Union was President’s Lowest-Rated Yet.”


According to Nielsen only 31.7 million people tuned in…that’s out of a current U.S. population of 324 million!


On the positive side, the number of tweets was way up to 2.6 million during the hour-long address–how sweet those tweets.


Seriously though, we are here to serve the people…how do we get back their respect?


I suspect that the answer revolves around the following:


– We need to turn from fighting each other to fighting our real enemies like the threat from Islamist Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. 


– We need to break the gridlock and get something done (lot’s of things done)!


– We need to stop the political cliches and talk from the heart to the heart. 


– We need to stop thinking about ourselves and focus on the people–all the people (not the middle-class versus the rich, not main street from wall street, not the color or race that you are or aren’t)!


– We need to tackle the many big problems we are facing–the national debt, national defense (including cybersecurity), environmental sustainability, raising the level of housing, food, medical care, and education for all, and of course, everything technology and innovation!


We need to go from a perception of poli-trick-ians to genuine representatives and leaders of the people for the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Engaging and Listening

Engaging and Listening

It was unexpected that the day after I blogged about a number of change organizations attracting attention in our society, particularly from our young people, that I saw it for myself on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Yet another change organization–different from the two that I wrote about yesterday–this one called “Be The Change” with three national campaigns currently:

– Service Nation–encourages a year of national service “to tackle pressing social issues.”

– Opportunity Nation–advocates for expanded economic mobility for all young people and to “close the opportunity gap in America.”

– Got Your 6–seeks to create opportunities for veterans.

Has “change” just become cliche or are people genuinely looking for something that is missing in today’s culture, values, and norms.

These smiling people certainly seem to be excited about change.

It just makes you wonder–what is it that people are desperately missing in their lives and want en masse to change? How do we help people find that missing link and achieve real enthusiasm for what we are doing and where we are going?

As leaders, it is our duty to understand and meet the genuine needs of the people…somehow doing this on the street corner by volunteers (as hardworking and noble as it is) seems to missing the larger point of government by the people for the people.

We need more politicians engaging and more people feeling they are being listened to. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Status Quo, No!

The Status Quo, No!

Two more articles, this time in Fast Company (Sept 2013) are pointing to the unhappiness of people and the desire to change things.

The first “You Sign, Companies Listen,” about Change.org, “the world’s petition platform” that now has 40 million users launching as many as 1,000 petitions a day. Now the site is allowing organizations to respond to petitions publicly and also has a “Decision Maker page,” which shows organizations all the petitions against them.

Change.org focuses on “personal issues with achievable solutions,” especially personal stories of injustice. The site is about a carrot and stick approach. Organizations can choose to listen and respond positively to their constituents legitimate issues or “there is a stick” if they don’t engage with the hundreds of thousands and millions of petitioners.

A second article, “Not Kidding Around,” about DoSomething.org, which “spearheads national campaigns” for young people interested in social change. Their values are optimism for a sense of hope, rebellion meaning the rules are broken and needs to be rewritten, and empathy to feel others pain so we can change things for the better.

There is a notion here that the youngsters “have no faith that Washington politicians can solve this problem.” These kids feel that “the world is in the shitter” and they want to help create social change.

It is interesting to me that despite our immense wealth and technological advances or maybe in some cases because of it–creating a materialistic, self-based society–that people are disillusioned and looking to restore meaning, purpose, and social justice.

Things have got to mean more than just getting the latest gadget, blurbing about what you had for lunch on twitter, or accumulating material things (homes, cars, vacations, clothes, shoes, bags, and more).

People can’t live on materialism alone, but are seeking a deeper connection with G-d and the universe–to make peace with our creator and with each other and create a better world where we are elevated for helping others, rather than just taking for ourselves.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Divided We Fall

Fallen_bridge

Checks and balances in government is a great thing.

Our founding fathers were brillant in building it into the constitution to place limitations and constraints on unbridled power.

Yes, we the people…of the people, for the people, by the people.

But recent fighting in government has shown that it is lately more about–of the politicians, for the politicians, by the politicians.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to be fighting everyone–not only across the party aisle, but between state and the federal government, and between branches of the Federal government, itself.

How does this work (or should I say maybe not working up to its ideal)–let’s take an example:

Yesterday, the healthcare law passed by Congress more or less along party lines, and signed by the President, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a suit brought by 26 states, and is being promised or threatened (depending which side of the aisle you are coming from) to be repealed by the next administration

Ah, there you have it–everyone seemingly going against everyone else and fighting what is considered progress to one side, but is harmful from the other’s point of view.

Let’s try another one–also just from yesterday:

Attorney General Eric Holder is held in contempt of Congress in the majority Republican, House of Representatives, with Nancy Pelosi, members of the Black Caucus, and other democrats walking out of the vote.  And this is to release papers on “Operation Fast and Furious” in the Justice Department (the Executive Branch) that resulted in the death of a border agent, Brian Terry of another Federal Department, Homeland Security, 11 miles from the Mexican border. But the papers were held under Presidential Executive Privilege from being released to a Congressional oversight committee. Now this turns to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to pursue or drop, but he is a Presidential Appointee that reports up to Attorney Holder, and could end up the courts to decide.

I can hardly catch my breath now, but a third one this week on immigration:

The Arizona law, with controversial provision SB 1070 that permits law enforcement to check immigration status, when there is reasonable suspicion, of people arrested or detained was ruled on by the Supreme Court, and this provision was upheld. But other provisions were struck down, such as it being a State crime to be an illegal immigrant or to hire one. One presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has called the law a “model for the nation,” while the current administration has felt otherwise.

Some would say this is the way it is supposed to work–this is the way we get issues worked through, grievances addressed and ensure fairness, equity, and that the right thing is being done.

But others may look at this and call it partisanship, ineffective, a waste or time and resources, one step forward and two steps back, a circuitous path to nowhere, a witch hunt or as Representative Alan Grayson said a “circus,” at times.

With huge threats facing our nation on virtually all fronts–from unemployment and the stagnant economy, to our national deficit, falling global competitiveness, ongoing threats of NCBR and cyber terrorism, not to mention natural disasters, chronic illnesses, human rights, poverty, pollution, and food and water shortages–we certainly have a lot to deal with.

The concern is that if we cannot work and move forward together with common resolve–as partners rather than competitors–to create genuine solutions rather than to bicker about who’s right, wrong, and to blame–then divided, we will fall.

We have a choice–unite and put the national and global commons above our own self-interests or yield to an uncertain and most frightening future.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Daniele Bora)

It’s The Right Thing To Do

Berlin_wall

In election season, there is a lot of confusing messaging and as citizens, we are left trying to figure out where to go with our country’s leadership next.

 

The rhetoric is heating upas each side tries to outdo the other on why they are right and the other side is wrong on the issues and who will be better at leading us into the future.

 

– But where is the negotiation, balance, compromise, and win-win for all the people?

 

Then of course, there is the blame gamethat seems to go on too, with politicians saying things aren’t getting done because of partisanship or this administration or that’s mistakes–this is the finger-pointing.

 

– What ever happened to the buck stops here?

 

Related, we have others that won’t even admit what they’ve said or where they standon the issues–first, they may just try to deny it and say they never said it, and perhaps later, they admit they said it, but they didn’t mean it quite that way–like, it’s a sound bit taken out of context.

 

– Is this conviction or just playing to the audience?

 

Finally, what are candidates even trying to sell us when they are electioneering–slogans, potshots, sleight-of-hands, political publicists or genuine directionfor how to make this country great.

 

– Is it a person, a party, or a platform that we are even voting for and how does race, ethnicity, sex, religion and so forth factor in to the votes?

 

Some commentators, like Peggy Noonan, have rightfully said (Wall Street Journal, 18-19 June 2012) that candidates must find a theme that people can sensibly grasp unto–something that gives a “sense of meaning” for their run.

 

Ultimately, we need to know who the candidates are as human beings–what is in their soul–what do they really think–and most important, what will they actually do, if they have the power.

 

A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial called “Four Words that Moved The World: ‘Tear Down This Wall'”–those where the words uttered by then President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 in a speech in front of the Berlin Wall.

 

Reagan told his deputy chief of staff that even though some would be mad at him for saying it, “it’s the right thing to do.”

 

Those six words are even more powerful than the four in his speech, because, especially as a leader, doing–not just saying–the right thing, is everything!

 

The hard part, as voters, is figuring out who will dowhat the right thing when they are called on.

 

(Source Photo: herewith attribution to Randy Robertson)