#229 Post Revenge Revolution: Lessons Learned – Economic Policy Fundamentals: Taxes (Part 5)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of work day.  (Conversation starts Entry #225)

Jordan:  “Gelly, whenever you’re ready let’s continue the discussions about lessons learned from the Revenge Revolution.  We’re supposed to talk about economic policy.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “We can start as soon as a friend of yours arrives.”

Jordan:  “What? Friend visiting?  There are no meetings scheduled now.”

Gelly:  “Drone Man just called and asked if he could stop by.  He should be by shortly.  Is that OK?”

Jordan:  “Of course.  Besides, he and I have periodic conversations about economic policy.  Interested to see if he’s changed his position since the Revenge Revolution.”

Gelly:  “Speaking of Mr. Drone Man.”

Drone Man:  “Gelly, Jordan, nice to see you.”

Jordan:  “Nice to see you Drone Man.  What brings you to the DC, or the Swamp as the Trumpsters called it?”

TrumpDrone Man:  “Probably still a swamp, even after Trump.  I’m here because my granddaughter had a field trip to Washington and she wanted me to be a chaperone.  I’ve got a couple of free hours and thought it might be fun to stop by and chat.”

Jordan:  “Your timing is perfect.  Gelly and I have been discussing lessons learned from the Revenge Revolution.  Next on the list is economic policy — taxes.”

Drone Man:  “May I participate?  I’ll try to be polite.”

Gelly:  “So, Jordan, you were going to explain some of the fundamentals of good economic policy, starting with taxes.”

Drone Man:  “Gelly, all you need to know about economic policy is two words.  You don’t need to know anything else.  The two words are ‘tax cuts.’”

Jordan:  “Forever the Trumpster, despite all that went wrong under that administration.  Let’s take Drone Man’s two-word policy and see if it works.”

drone-manDrone Man:  “Of course tax cuts work.  Tax cuts always work.  Talking to you liberals is so frustrating.  Why don’t you admit we’re right!”

Gelly:  “Oh boys, I thought this was supposed to be a civilized conversation.”

Jordan:  “You’re right Gelly.  Here’s the premise for why tax cuts supposedly work.  The tax rate on the wealthiest in the US is too high.  By lowering the tax rate, the wealthiest will invest more money and create jobs for those with middle and lower incomes.”

Gelly:  “You mean like the benefits of tax cuts for the rich somehow trickle down to the rest of us?”

voodoo-2015958Jordan:  “Yes, that’s the theory.  It’s also what Bush 41 called voodoo economics.”

Drone Man:  “Cut the editorializing and keep to the theory, please.”

Jordan:  “The added investment associated with the tax cuts would create more jobs, which in turn would create more taxes and the added taxes from the middle and lower-income families would more than offset tax cuts for the wealthier. Did I explain the theory about right Drone Man?”

Drone Man:  “Close enough.”

Confused Clip ArtGelly:  “I have what’s probably a really dumb question.”

Jordan:  “I’m sure the question is not dumb.  Fire away.”

Gelly:  “Once taxes are cut, then the wealthy people are supposed to invest the extra money.  But where do they invest it?”

Drone Man:  “More factories to make more goods.  They hire more people.  That’s where all the extra jobs come from…and then the extra tax revenue flows back to the government.  It’s so easy to understand.”

Gelly:  “Here’s what I don’t understand.  If middle and lower-income people only have a little bit more money to spend…or maybe no more money to spend after the tax cuts…then who’s going to buy all the extra products the new factories make?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Good question.  How ‘bout that Drone Man?”

Drone Man:  “What’s not to understand?”

Gelly:  “Let me ask the question this way.  Drone Man, if you owned a business, under what conditions would you invest and expand the business?”

Drone Man:  “I’d expand when I thought demand for the company’s products was going to exceed production capacity.”

Gelly:  “Would you expand if customers could not afford to buy more of your products?”

Drone Man:  “Of course not.  That would be stupid.  The idea of ‘build it and they will come’ only happens in the movies.  What was the name of that movie about some baseball diamond in a cornfield?”

field-of-dreamsGelly:  “You mean ‘Field of Dreams’?”

Drone Man:  “That’s the one.  ‘Field of Dreams.’  No business can operate like that.”

Gelly:  “Jordon also mentioned ‘Field of Dreams’ to me.”

Drone Man:  “At least we agree on something.”

Gelly:  “If I understand both of you correctly, business owners, even if they have more personal income…say through a tax cut…aren’t going to expand their business unless…”

Drone Man:  “…unless demand is going to increase and outstrip capacity.  Why can’t you guys understand this?”

Gelly:  “Then why would a tax cut that disproportionately favors the wealthy cause these owners to make more…what do the accountants call it, capital investments?  Why wouldn’t the business owners just put the money in the bank or Used Car royalty-free-car-salesman-clipart-illustration-443283the stock market?  Tell me what I’m missing?”

Jordan:  “Now Drone Man, tell Gelly what’s wrong with her logic?”

Drone Man:  “OK, so the wealthy probably won’t increase capital spending and instead purchase bonds or stocks.”

Gelly:  “Here’s another dumb question.  Why wouldn’t putting more money in the pockets of middle and lower-income families create more demand than giving more money to the wealthy?  It seems logical the lower and middle-income people would spend most of the extra money.  Then the additional spending would create extra demand and allow the wealthy business owners to build money-in-pocketmore factories…and make even more money?”

Jordan:  “Gelly, how much someone spends of an extra dollar received is called the marginal propensity to consume, or MPC.”

Gelly:  “You said to remember the letters MPC.  So I assume this MPC, or marginal propensity to consume, is higher for lower and middle-income families?  If someone who doesn’t have much money gets $1,000, they’ll spend most of it.  To someone who’s rich, $1,000 is probably a rounding error and they won’t spend it, right?”

Jordan:  “You got it.  Now Drone Man, what about Gelly’s analysis?  Wouldn’t the Wall Street Signeconomy be better off if the tax cuts or government spending were directed at people who would spend the money and help the economy grow rather than people who will put the money in stocks or bonds?”

Drone Man:  “OK Gelly, you’re right…I mean you might be right.  I mean, no you’re not right.  Tax cuts for the wealthy have proved to be a way to sustain growth in the economy.”

Jordan:  “Really?  You have some hard evidence?”

ronald_reaganDrone Man:  “Look at what Reagan did.  He cut taxes and the economy grew.”

Jordan:  “What if I said Clinton raised taxes and the economy grew even more?  Plus there was a budget surplus under Clinton and a huge deficit under Reagan.  In fact under Reagan…and Bush 41/43… growth in the deficit as a percent of GDP was proportionately much higher than under Obama.  In fact, under the so-called fiscally conservative Reagan-like Republicans, the debt as a percent of GDP increased more than 150%.  The increase would have been much higher if Clinton hadn’t had a budget surplus and lowered debt as a percent of GDP.  Here, let me dig out a chart and show you.”

Drone Man:  “I don’t need to see your phony chart based on made-up data.  You have your facts, I have mine.”

Jordan:  “Excuse me, Drone Man?  You’re claiming data about the deficit and GDP are fabricated?  You think the there are multiple sets of economic data?”

Drone Man:  “What I know is what I know…and I know I’m right.  I don’t need some liberals so-called economic data.  It’s always biased.  Why did I stop by here?”

(To be continued)

#228 Post Revenge Revolution: Lessons Learned — Presidential Physical, Mental Exams (Part 4)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of work day.  (Conversation starts Entry #225)

Gelly:  “Jordan, could we hold off the discussion about lessons learned re economic 092615_2031_Characters7.gifpolicy decisions and the Revenge Revolution?

Jordan:  “Sure, but why?”

Gelly:  “Something about presidential elections has bothered me for a long time.”

Jordan:  “Such as?”

Gelly:  “Why aren’t presidential candidates subject to an impartial, rigorous physical exam…and mental exam?  I mean. Given the responsibilities of the president you’d think…”

doctor-clipart-illustration-31325Jordan:  “…excuse me but let me back up.  Did you say presidential candidates should be subject to a rigorous physical and mental exam?”

Gelly:  “Yes, and here’s why.”

Jordan:  “But there’s already a provision in the Constitution to address your concern.  If something happens to the president, the vice president takes over.”

Gelly:  “I understand.  If the president dies, there is a clear line of succession.  A dead Turtleneckpresident makes it easy.  I think everyone supports the VP as successor.”

Jordan:  “Then what is the issue?”

Gelly:  “Really, the issue is when the president is not dead but mentally incapacitated.  There are no clear rules so the line of succession does not necessarily apply.”

Jordan:  “You have an example?”

Gelly:  “Ronald Reagan, toward the end of the second term…and probably earlier…ronald_reaganshowed signs of Alzheimer’s.  Nancy Reagan tried to mask the problem.  And credit to her, I think she did a good job.”

Jordan:  “You’re getting on thin ice discussing mental acuity.  How are you…rather how are we the public…going to measure mental acuity?”

Gelly:  “You know I’m not a psychiatrist or any kind of medical doctor.  But there must be some tests for early-stage dementia — Alzheimer’s or whatever.”

Jordan:  “Reagan was president in the 1980’s.  Your example is what more than 30 years ago?”

Gelly:  “We have a more recent case…at least I think so.”

Jordan:  “If I do a quick review of presidents since Reagan, the only one who seems to donald-trumpqualify as one of your ‘dementia candidates’ is Donald Trump.”

Gelly:  “You’re right.  And here’s my logic.  First, his father, Fred Trump, had Alzheimer’s.  I read that in his obituary in the NY Times. (trump-fred-obituary-nyt)  Not sure if Trump’s mother had Alzheimer’s.”

Jordan:  “From what I’ve read, the chances of having Alzheimer’s are greater if one parent has Alzheimer’s.  Even higher likelihood with two.  But still, even with two parents that’s not a guarantee.  What else?”

Gelly:  “Look at his pattern of behavior – before the campaign, during the campaign and after becoming president.  Each period he exhibited an inability or unwillingness to concentrate and/or study.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, a number of people have trouble concentrating or studying.”

Gelly:  “True.  But those people are not running for president…or elected president.”

Jordan:  “What are you basing your conclusion on?”

Gelly:  “To me the most striking behavior was how Trump’s position on an issue seemed to reflect ideas of the last person he talked to.  Trump would proclaim one trump-flip-flopposition then change his position after talking to someone with a different view.  Then he might change again after talking to someone else.  No one knew which Donald Trump was going to show up.  Just listen to some of the White House staffers talk about the chaos that was created by the inconsistency of positions.”

Jordan:  “Maybe that behavior is characteristic of a person who changes as he or she studies the issue.  What else?”

Gelly:  “Jordan, quit being so PC.  What was equally scary was his seeming inability to comprehend complex issues.  When presented with complex problems, he was like a deer-in-headlights-1deer-in-the-headlights – frozen.”

Jordan:  “Many of his supporters thought Trump was able to simplify issues that others made complicated.”

Gelly:  “People who thought that way either didn’t understand reality or didn’t want to face facts about Trump’s mental capacity.”

Jordan:  “What else?”

Gelly:  “Trump could not stand any criticism…so thin-skinned.  Complex issues could not be openly discussed and decided because the ‘decider-in-chief’ relied on either ‘gut feel’ or the last person’s opinion rather than objective analysis.  When bully-clip-artsomeone challenged Trump’s opinion, he would often act like a bully, openly humiliating the person…sometimes even on Twitter.  You cannot run an organization like that, let alone a country.”

Jordan:  “Maybe his management style was bad but do you think that behavior is a symptom of dementia?”

Gelly:  “What I know is this.  The kind of behavior Trump exhibited…not just once but consistently over time…put the US and many countries at great risk.  The behavior seemed to be outside the bounds of what I’ve read most psychiatrists consider ‘normal,’ with ‘normal’ constituting a very wide band.”

fife-drum%201Jordan:  “Well, there’s little doubt that some of his erratic behavior contributed to the Revenge Revolution.  Not the only cause, obviously, but certainly a major factor.  Is the lesson that we should take away — presidential candidates need to receive a thorough and objective physical and mental exam?”

Gelly:  “Yes.  Ideally the exam would be private and before the candidate made any public announcement.  So if the exam suggested potential problems, the candidate could consider not announcing.”

Jordan:  “Gelly, your idea is thought-provoking.  A great next step would be to get people talking about the mental health of the president.  Won’t be easy but it might catch hold.  Now, can we get back to lessons learned from economic policy decisions?”

To be continued)

#227 Post Revenge Revolutions: Some Lessons Learned (Part 3)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of work day.  (Conversation starts Entry #225))

Gelly:  “Jordan, what was that word you just used?  Some kind of ‘tocracy’?”

Jordan:  “Kasistocracy.  Means government run by unsuitable people or a government that is unsuitable.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Are you suggesting the Trump Administration was a…say that word again.”

Jordan:  “Kas-is-toc-racy.”

Gelly:  “Yes, the Trump Administration was a kasistocracy.  Is that what you you’re implying?”

Jordan:  “That’s not just my assessment.  Many people in the US feel that way as do many US allies.”

Gelly:  “I admit many actions by the Trump Administration at the beginning were a bit unusual.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Gelly, you’ve gone from being blunt a few minutes ago to being Ms. Diplomat.  You think the actions were just ‘a bit unusual’?”

Gelly:  “OK, I’ll be less PC.  The actions, starting with the Trump Transition Team, were stupid.”

Jordan:  “Now, at least Trump is getting the same treatment I get from you and JC.”

Gelly:  “Whoever was advising Trump, and likely Trump himself, had no clue about the breadth and depth of the task that needed to be done before Inauguration Day.”

Jordan:  “The turnover of staff made it worse.  The coup de gras…maybe the coup de gras of stupidity…was the VP-elect Mike Pence, who was supposed to be heading the transition team full-time, deciding to remain governor of Indiana until just before Inauguration Day.”

goofy006Gelly:  “Pence deserved the ‘Stupid Is as Stupid Does’ award for that move.  He reminded me Goofy.  What was he thinking?”

Jordan:  “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration dug itself a hole so deep before Inauguration Day it was never able to recover.  It’s not as if the Obama Administration and others inside the Beltway didn’t try to help.  Most of the people and many of the ideas were just ignored.  Instead, I think most of the appointments were more like Trump lap dogs.”

Gelly:  “The Trump kasistocracy…I love that word…increased frustration among trump-youre-firedvoters, especially those who thought Trump was going to change Washington in a good way.  So voter frustration increased…and voila, the Revenge Revolution…and Trump was fired.”

Jordan:  “What’s the lesson from the Trump Administration so a kasistocracy does not happen again?”

Gelly:  “Maybe the US needs to drop the Electoral College and go to a system where the presidential candidate with the majority of votes is declared the winner.”

Jordan:  “Think that would prevent a kasistocracy?”

Gelly:  “I don’t know.  But in the span of 16 years there were two presidents elected who did not win the popular vote – Bush 43 and Trump.  Do you know the last time that happened before Bush 43?”

Jordan:  “As a matter of fact, I do.  In 1888, Benjamin Harrison beat Grover electoral-collegeCleveland.  It happened a couple of other times before 1888.”

Gelly:  “Harrison to Bush 43 was 112 years.  Then Bush to Trump was 16 years.”

Jordan:  “If presidents were elected based on popular vote, I think that would quell some of the frustration of the side that garners the most votes but ends up losing the election.”

Gelly:  “Agreed.  However, I’ll bet people could live with the Electoral College if the quality of the candidates improved.”

Jordan:  “The lesson might really be – improve the quality of the candidates.  If so, then how?”         

publicly-funded-electionsGelly:  “This might sound naïve but educating the public about issues would be a great start.”

Jordan:  “As part of that plan, what about eliminating private funding of presidential elections?  Let the Federal government fund presidential elections.”

Gelly:  “Wouldn’t public funding be contrary to the Citizens United case?”

Jordan:  “Yes, but we are post Revenge Revolution and have a new Congress…well, mostly new.  Let Congress pass a bill to have the Federal government fund presidential elections.  I can’t think of any Constitutional issues that can’t be addressed.”

Gelly:  “If there is Federal funding, there should be an increase in the number of presidential-debatesdebates.  And the debates should be about real issues.  If public debates were increased and public advertising decreased, then the candidates could speak in more depth about issues.  If they phrased an answer awkwardly or even made a mistake, they could correct the mistake in a subsequent debate.  A minor slip now gets blown way out of proportion.”

Jordan:  “Along those lines but a bit more esoteric, is the need to eliminate false equivalency.”

not-equal-symbolGelly:  “False equivalency meaning…”

Jordan:  “When groups, and even the media, claim that two opposing positions on an issue should be considered equally legitimate.”

Gelly:  “You mean like global warming?”

Jordan:  “Good example.  And like certain tax policies.  There are other examples as well.”

Gelly:  “What needs to be done to eliminate, or reduce, false equivalency?”

Jordan:  “Both sides need to be challenged to provide evidence to support their position.”

Gelly:  “So, for global warming the people who claim global warming has been caused by the effects of the industrial revolution, or at least made worse by the Industrial Revolution, they could use such data as the rate of increase in temperature-mean-globalmean temperature per year over the last 125-150 years and/or the slope of CO2 concentration over the same period.  The increase in the slope of both those curves indicates a major change has occurred.”

Jordan:  “Compare that data set to those who claim global warming is a hoax perpetuated by 3,000+ scientists, a hoax by the Chinese or some other sinister group.  Where are the data to support the argument?  None exists.”

Gelly:  “So you’re saying why should the naysayers get any airtime until they have some evidence, right?”

Jordan:  “The naysayers can get airtime but the media need to be relentless in proddingprodding the quacks to provide evidence.  No allowing midnight tweets, including the president’s tweets, to be considered credible evidence.”  

Gelly:  “OK, then what about tax policy?  Deciding which arguments about appropriate tax policy seems less clear.”

Jordan:  “I agree that there is no hard evidence on some issues.  But for other issues there are lots of solid data.”

Gelly:  “Such as?”

Jordan:  “Take trickle-down economics, or as Bush 41 called it, ‘voodoo voodoo-2015958economics.’  Bush 41 was spot on.  There is no credible evidence of any country experiencing sustained economic growth based on trickle-down economics.  Concentrating tax cuts with the rich does not trickle down and create significant job growth.  Tax cuts for the rich concentrates wealth and can make the country poorer, not richer.”

Gelly:  “Really?  There’s no supporting evidence for trickle-down economics?”

Jordan:  “Think about the theory?  Give more money to the rich and they will field-of-dreamsmagically create jobs.  Why would they?  No reasonable company or CEO is going to expand a facility or build a new facility without the prospect of an increase in demand.  People need more income if they’re going to increase demand for goods and services.  The only time trickle-down economics works — ‘build it and they will come’ — is in the movie, ‘Field of Dreams.’”

Gelly:  “You need to tell me more.  This is an important lesson.”

Jordan:  “Let’s take a break but remember the letters MPC.”

(To be continued)     

#226 Revenge Revolution: Some Lessons Learned (Part 2)

Tags

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of work day.  (Conversation starts Entry #225)

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Jordan, ready to get back to work?” 

Jordan:  “All set.  So far, we’ve discussed two lessons learned from the Revenge Revolution: (i) politicians need to act more rationally, and not act like Larry, Moe and Curley; (ii) people have a right to vote.  No more suppressing rights of eligible voters.  What’s next on your list of lessons?”

Gelly:  “People started to understand the Constitution.  That might sound silly but…”

Jordan:  “That’s an interesting point.  Any examples?”

Constitution Clip artGelly:  “One that stands out for me is the difference between the perception of the power of the president and the power granted in the Constitution.  No question the president has enormous power to make change, but the power is much more limited than many people think…or at least used to think.”

Jordan:  “Be more specific, please.”

Gelly:  “To me what’s laughable…and in a way tragic…is how many Trump 092615_2031_Characters8.gifsupporters in 2016 kept claiming that if Clinton were elected president, she would somehow overturn the 2nd Amendment and take away all their toys, I mean guns.”

Jordan:  “What was their rationale?  How was she going to overturn the 2nd Amendment?”

Gelly:  “That’s the laughable part.  I guess she was going to wave some magic wand.”

wicked-witchJordan:  “Like the wicked witch of the West?”

Gelly:  “Presidents can’t run around an issue some Executive Order overturning part of the Constitution.  Overturning an Amendment is nearly impossible.  Did the Trumpsters ever listen in school?  They should have learned the fundamentals of the Constitution in 7th or 8th grade.”

Jordan:  “What else is on your list?”

Gelly:  “Let’s stick with Trump.  I think he realized…although it was some time after he took office…that the government does not operate like a business, and especially a family controlled business.”

Jordan:  “You mean the CEO can’t just go around mandating that money should military-clip-art--military-clipart-8be spent on this project or to build that wall…or whatever?  And do you mean that people in government aren’t just good little soldiers and jump up, salute and carry out the CEO’s orders?”

Gelly:  “That realization must have been a shock to his system, and many of his supporters.  Didn’t they understand that expenditures for the Federal Government are initiated and passed by the House?  Not the White House but the House of Representatives.  Clearly, the Donald was not used having someone Congresselse decide if, when and how much money could be spent on a particular project.”

Jordan:  “Probably the only time someone put him on a tight budget was after he declared bankruptcy and the lenders forced him.”

Gelly:  “Here’s another one that must have been a shock to Trump and many trump-youre-firedsupporters.  Being president is not the same as being on a TV show.  Other than a few direct reports, the president can’t hire or fire anyone.  Even many of the direct reports have to be approved by the Senate.”

Jordan:  “You think he understood the many of the limitations of the presidency…let’s call them operational limitations?”

Gelly:  “He probably had some vague idea but let’s not forget that the Donald had no…as in zero…experience in any key management role other than a family controlled business.”

Jordan:  “You’re right.  And even very large family controlled organizations are tiny compared to the Federal government.  Government is a different game and Federal government is vastly more complicated.”

Gelly:  “So the post-Revenge Revolution lesson is a simple one that I think people are starting to understand.  The lesson is…”

politicsJordan:  “…let me try.  When candidates make bold claims during a campaign, the voting public needs to probe the candidate to understand how and why he or she will be successful in implementing the claim.  No more getting away with just arm waving and lots of vague statements.”

Gelly:  “Good boy, Jordan.  Want a rawhide treat?”

Jordan:  “Why do you and JC harass me?”

Gelly:  “You’re such an easy target.  Seriously, here’s another lesson — economics.  Wanna guess what the lesson is?”

Jordan:  “Claims for creating jobs, implementing tax cuts, reducing the deficit…Black School Teacherand whatever else…make sure the approach is realistic and the numbers add up.”

Gelly:  “Exactly.  Let’s start with Trump’s claim to bring back manufacturing jobs so the under-employed or unemployed workers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and elsewhere could work again.  I mean really.  What a crock.”

Jordan:  “C’mon.  You’re being too hard on Trump.  All politicians shade the truth, a least a bit.”

Gelly:  “His claims about reclaiming old-line manufacturing were not little bitty pants-on-fireexaggerations but ‘pants-on-fire’ lies.  It took a while for the Trumpsters to realize the old-line manufacturing jobs were gone…not just shifted to Mexico or China…but gone forever.”

Jordan:  “I agree.  The type of jobs in manufacturing are radically different from 20-30 years ago.”

Gelly:  “Recently, my younger sister asked me to help chaperone her daughter’s class field trip to an auto assembly plant.  I said yes because I thought it might be fun.  Besides, it was for my niece.”

Jordan:  “And…?”

robots-on-assy-lineGelly:  “The assembly plant is a different world from what I remember as a kid when our class visited an assembly plant.  Rather than a bunch of people, which is what we saw, now there are a bunch of robots.  Robots seemed to being doing most everything.  There were some people…but not very many.”

Jordan:  “And you know what?  The robots don’t take lunch breaks, restroom breaks or vacations, or require healthcare benefits.  Plus, using the robots improves consistency and overall quality.”

Gelly:  “Has every manufacturing segment replaced people with robots?”

Jordan:  “In varying degrees.  And the number of robots and capabilities of robots is only going to increase.”

horse-buggyGelly:  “Then where did Trump think the old-line manufacturing people were going to work – making buggies and buggy whips?”

Jordan:  “Who knows what he thought?  But this we do know.  The Trumpsters got very frustrated when the jobs didn’t come back.”

Gelly:  “And just like they were a driving force in electing Trump.  The old-line manufacturing guys were a driving force in leading the Revenge Revolution.” 

Jordan:  “Are you saying the Trump Administration was a kakistocracy?”                     

#225 Revenge Revolution: Some Lessons Learned (Part 1)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of work day. 

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly (Jordan’s Assistant):  “Good morning, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Morning, Gelly.  Anything hot on the schedule this morning?”

Gelly:  “Nothing for a while.  You got a minute?”

Jordan:  “Sure.  Let me get a coffee first.  (Gelly hands Jordan a coffee.) You’re really good.   Thanks.  What’s up?”

Gelly:  “Don’t know what caused me to think about this but is anyone writing about the benefits of the Revenge Revolution?  You know — lessons learned.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Good question.  Greenie is writing a series of articles about the causes.  Matt is helping her on a few articles.  I guess the answer to your question is, ‘no, not to my knowledge.’”

Gelly:  “Well, maybe Greenie and Matt should write a few articles on lessons learned.”

Jordan:  “OK, let me be the interviewer.  What do you think are the lessons of the Revenge Revolution?”

kick-in-the-pantsGelly:  “The most obvious one to me is people have started forcing politicians to act rationally…like the rest of us have to act, or at least most of us.  That change in behavior is a big switch.”

Jordan:  “Such as…?”

Gelly:  “Lots of examples.  One that seems very important is Senators are effectively being forced to vote on judicial nominees.  No more stonewalling.”

three-stoogesJordan:  “You mean like in 2016 when Larry, Moe and Curly…I mean Senators Burr, McCain and Cruz…threatened to block every judicial nominee if Clinton was elected president.”

Gelly:  “Yep.  Those guys acted like the Three Stooges.  Let me correct my statement.  Burr, McCain and Cruz couldn’t hold a candle to the Three Stooges.  For the senators, a better description is more like ‘stupid is as stupid does.’”

Jordan:  “Why do you think their statement about blocking all judicial nominees…and possibly other nominees…is so bad?  The Constitution does not force the Senate to act.”

Gelly:  “True.  But you cannot have a functioning democracy if one body refuses traitorto act on behalf of the people and only acts for itself.  The country cannot operate when elected officials represent only a portion of the populous and, in effect, stab all other voters in the back.  That kind of behavior was a cause of the Revenge Revolution.  And since the Revolution people have been forcing elected officials to consider the electorate, not just special interests.”

Jordan:  “Aren’t you being a bit naïve?  There have always been biases and special interests in Congress.”

Gelly:  “I agree.  However, real people recognize there are different opinions on how to solve problems.  Anyone with any brains, and that used to include Congress before the Republicans in Congress in the 1990’s started taking stupid pills, knows that working through a problem with someone else usually results in a better solution.”

Jordan:  “What does that have to do with approving judicial nominees?”

Gelly:  “Relevant because Larry, Moe and Curly…err, Burr, McCain and Cruz…refused to my-way-or-highwayeven consider working with Democrats to find a solution.  The BMC boy’s idea of a solution was the proverbial, ‘my way or the highway.’”

Jordan:  “But the country experienced the Revenge Revolution and the likes of Burr, McCain and Cruz are now off in the corner with their dunce caps.”

dunce capsGelly:  “And the BMC boys deserve dunce caps.  And eliminating such behavior is one of the lessons that needs to written about.”

Jordan:  “Have another lesson of the Revenge Revolution for Greenie to write about?”

Gelly:  “Making voting easier.”

Jordan:  “Gelly, surely you don’t think Republicans made an effort to suppress Ballot_Clipart_01voting, do you?”

Gelly:  “Your great state, North Carolina…”

Jordan:  “…Please, I’m only a visitor to North Carolina.  A long-term visitor but visitor, nonetheless.”

Gelly:  “…Your state North Carolina was cited by Federal courts twice in about six NC Outlinemonths for attempting to stop blacks from voting.  Both cases were blatant.  One judge indicated the state’s efforts were ‘with precision.’  Oh, no, Republicans made no effort to stop blacks from voting.”

Jordan:  “Those efforts were to protect the other residents from voter fraud.”          

Gelly:  “Jordan, either your tongue is planted deep in your cheek or you need to doctor-clipart-illustration-31325go see a proctologist and have your head put back on the right part of your anatomy.”

Jordan:  “She’s so subtle.”

Gelly:  “No reason to be subtle.  There was no credible evidence of any voter fraud.  All the cases claimed by Republicans were proved to be false.  People who are US citizens have a right to vote, period.  Do these vote fraud-claim yoyo’s ever read the Constitution?”

Jordan:  “You’ve come up with two good examples.  Let’s chat more after I take a break.”  

#224 Rioters in Charlotte vs Role Models (con’t) (Part 6 of 6)

First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Editor’s note: at the end of Entry #223, I indicated the series of articles about TurtleneckCharlotte and the black community was complete.  This past week (beginning 10/23/2016) a quote in the Charlotte Observer seemed so relevant to the series and especially Entry #223 (Role models for the black community) that I thought another entry was appropriate.

The quote is from Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers football team.  Mr. Newton is a graduate of Auburn University.  He played in Super Bowl 50 and was voted the most valuable player in the NFL for 2015.  As one might expect, Mr. Newton is admired by many children…and adults.  Because of the topics in this series of entries, I’m noting that Mr. Newton is also black.

At the time of the interview the Panthers record in 2016 had fallen to 1 win and 5 charlotte_observer_logo-jpglosses (in 2015 the Panthers were 6-0).  The article focused on how the Panthers might turnaround the freefall from last year’s stellar season.  The reporter asked Mr. Newton for his thoughts.  Mr. Newton’s response, “We don’t need no messages.  We out of things that need to be said.  We out of big rah-rah speeches and everybody saying believe.”

Some might attribute Mr. Newton’s response to “locker-room talk,” where language is less formal.  Nice try…but no dice.  Anyone who has ever been interviewed by the locker_roommedia or spent any time around the media, as I have and certainly Mr. Newton has, knows that other than on rare occasions, all remarks are subject to being “on-the-record.”  (Mr. Trumps knows that as well.)

So here we have a high-profile sports figure who makes at least three grammatical mistakes in three sentences.  For many younger admirers of Mr. Newton, and given Mr. Newton’s success on the athletic field, the interpretation of his remarks could be that “knowing good English don’t matter.”

If Mr. Newton were not a stellar athlete, it seems likely he would not have a very good job.  What company or organization would consider hiring someone for any meaningful position when the candidate has such poor command of English?

Did the interview happen to occur on an “off day” for Mr. Newton?  Unfortunately, no.  newton-clip-artIn remarks cited in other articles and when speaking extemporaneously, Mr. Newton makes numerous grammatical mistakes.  (Panthers fans, relax.  I’m not picking on or being unfair to Mr. Newton.  He’s a high-profile athlete and promoted by the Panthers.  Besides he was convenient.  We live in Charlotte and I often read the sports section on the exercycle.)

I realize Mr. Newton is not the only athlete whose command of the English language is limited.  Even the most educated people make a grammatical mistake occasionally…but not three mistakes in three short sentences.

092615_2031_Characters5.pngEntry #223 described three “non-athlete” role models the black community should consider.  Since publishing Entry #223, I’ve talked to the real “Rock Man” twice, with each conversation lasting at least 20 minutes.  In neither conversation do I remember Rock Man making a serious grammatical mistake.

Let me reiterate some thought starters put forth in Entries #219-#223 and a few earlier entries.  If the black community wants to begin getting off the bottom rung of the laddereconomic ladder, then it should consider: (i) promoting such role models as Rock Man, Lonnie Johnson and Dr. Benjamin Payton (#223): (ii) strongly encourage black college athletes to select a study major that provides the foundation for a meaningful career outside athletics; (iii) discourage black athletes from entering the NBA or NFL and instead, seek jobs in other professions.  At a minimum, exert family and social pressure on black athletes not to enter the NFL or NBA until graduating.

Okay, I’ve made my case about a different approach for the black community to consider.  Hope some of these thoughts are of value.  Comments welcome.

#223 Rioters in Charlotte vs. Role Models (Part 5 of 6)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation for this series starts Entry #219.

Jordan:  “So you want to know the 3rd person on the list of role models for the black community?”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Do I know the person?”

Jordan:  “Probably not.  But the person has an impressive set of accomplishments.”

Matt:  “Well, how’d you find out about him…or her?”

Jordan:  “Obituary in the NY Times.”

Matt:  “I must admit, the obits in The Times make for fascinating reading.  Remarkable people, and many you’ve never heard of before.  OK, tell me more.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Like Rock Man, the guy’s family is from the south and poor.  Also, like Rock Man he gets into college and graduates.  In fact, all nine children in the family graduate from college.”

Matt:  “Impressive.  About what year did he graduate?”

Jordan:  “Entered college in the early 1950’s, probably 1952.  Graduates in about 1956 from South Carolina State, which is a historically black college.”

Matt:  “Then what?”

yale_bulldogs2Jordan:  “Next gets a divinity degree from Harvard, then off to Columbia for masters in I think psychology.  The icing on the cake is a PhD from Yale.”

Matt:  “Oh, is that all?  I mean, whadda say other than, wow?  Did he go into politics after that?”

Jordan:  “Got very involved in the Civil Rights Movement working with church-affiliated organizations in New York City.  He was also appointed president of Benedict College, which is a Baptist college.  After Benedict he worked for the Ford Foundation until appointed president of Tuskegee University in 1980 or 1981.”

tuskegee-logoMatt:  “Tuskegee has come a long way in the last few decades.  The school really transformed itself to a credible research university.”

Jordan:  “The 3rd role model, Dr. Benjamin Payton, initiated most of those changes.  He was president for about 30 years.  Think he retired in 2010.”  (Link to Dr. Payton’s obituary, 16-10-23-223-obit-dr-benjamin-payton)

Matt:  “Dr. Payton is clearly a great role model for the black community.  But all three people could role models for everyone.”

Jordan:  “I agree and that’s one of the reasons they are on the list.”

Matt:  “The selections are great…but one thing that I’ve got to ask about.  The storyline for all three seems to be a college education.  You and I both know that not everyone is cut out for college.”

determinationJordan:  “I agree that education is a common component.  I think the overriding, and more important component, is determination.  Each one was determined not to let the system or stereotypes get in the way.  Rock Man agreed to become Mr. Mom so his wife could become a corporate executive.  Would you do that?  Lonnie Johnson was an engineer at NASA, a bit unusual itself, and then became an entrepreneur – first inventing the super squirt gun, then working on an advanced battery.  Dr. Payton gets as many degrees as you and I combined and then turned a frankly so-so historically black college into a credible research university.  Each one of these people broke the mold.” 

Matt:  “Each one belongs on the list.  One more question about the list.  And you probably don’t want to hear the question.  Why exclude ignoreathletes as role models?”

Jordan:  “First, sports for the black community are ok if…and this is the big if that seems to get overlooked in the conversation…”

Matt:  “…let me guess the ‘if.’  Sports are OK if the athlete also gets an education, right?”

Jordan:  “Spot on.  To be OK, the athlete’s degree can’t be in some half-baked major where no real jobs exist.”

NFLMatt:  “Your OK if the athlete has a degree in a credible subject.”

Jordan:  “And then the athlete uses the degree after the NFL or NBA career…and ideally during their career.”

Matt:  “These days most athletes don’t work in the off-season…at least not at regular jobs”

Jordan:  “I know.  Think about this.  What if athletes used their education in the off season to say, tutor kids?  Tutoring kids not just in schools considered disadvantaged but all schools.”

Matt:  “You mean like helping kids with reading, algebra, maybe even physics?  What a pleasant change that would be.”

nba-logoJordan:  “Imagine an NBA star coaching kids in English class and encouraging them to spend time studying rather than shooting hoops.”

Matt:  “Interesting idea.”

Jordan:  “And here’s my guess.   Having a black NBA star spending just a few days tutoring kids in higher-achieving schools would do wonders to help begin to change the image of the black community among many whites.”

Matt:  “If I heard you right, the NBA star should spend most of the time in 122813_2140_15Education4.jpgdisadvantaged schools but some time in other schools, right?”

Jordan:  “Simple idea, huh?”

Matt:  “Very simple…and could be very effective.  Now, we need to end this conversation.  I need to get to start writing articles for Greenie about how the riots in Charlotte…and elsewhere…contributed to the Revenge Revolution.  I also think that even more important is having some articles that present practical ideas on how groups and communities can move ahead.”

Jordan:  “Matt, these should be great stories for Charlotte…and a lot of communities.  In the articles, please remind readers that progress can be made 2014-chevrolet-volt-5much faster by driving looking through the windshield and not trying to drive looking through the rearview mirror.”

Matt:  “Jordan, as always, time together has been a pleasure.  OK if I call back with questions?”

Jordan:  “Of course.  Matt, enjoyed it.  Take care.”   (End of this series)

#222 Rioters in Charlotte. Drive Looking through the Windshield or the Rearview Mirror? (Part 4)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation for this series starts Entry #219.

Matt:  “I agree the conversation about the black community should be frank with no sugar-coating.  But 092615_2031_Characters11.pngwhere should the conversation start?  I mean, lots of issues.”

Jordan:  “Why not start at the end and work backwards?  What should the black community look like?  An even better start would be to describe the characteristics of people the black community can look up to.”

Matt:  “You mean describe characteristics of some role models?”

Jordan:  “Role models as long they are not sports figures…no Michael Jordan’s, for example.  Nothing against the Michael Jordan’s of the world but the black community cannot solve its problems through the NBA and NFL.”

Matt:  “Then what kind of role models?”

questionJordan:  “My recommendation would be individuals most people haven’t heard of but who exemplify what I think the black community would like to become.”

Matt:  “Who’s on your list?”

Jordan:  “Three people.  #1 is someone I know reasonably well; #2 is someone I’ve met a few times in business; #3, never met but awestruck with his accomplishments.”

Matt:  “Let me guess, Rock Man is #1 on the list. 

Jordan:  “Good guess.”

Matt:  “I remember meeting Rock Man and was very impressed…but I don’t know the whole story.”    

TurtleneckJordan:  “Rock Man comes from a family of 6-8 children…I don’t remember the exact number but a lot.  Eastern North Carolina.  Parents are tenant cotton farmers with maybe an 8th-grade education.”

Matt:  “But Rock Man is a college grad, right?”

Jordan:  “As are all 6-8 children.  Everyone graduated from college and a few have graduate degrees.”

Matt:  “I admit that’s very impressive for the family, but what else about Rock Man?”

092615_2031_Characters5.pngJordan:  “After graduation he starts a climbing gym in Charlotte.  Apparently he’s got the only black-owned climbing gym in the country…at least east of the Mississippi.”

Matt:  “Mostly black clientele?”

Jordan:  “Mostly white.”

Matt:  “Well, how’d you meet Rock Man?”

Jordan:  “Through a business colleague.  I then started helping Rock Man with managing his business.”

Matt:  “Still interesting but nothing too special about this.”

woman-clipart-zyikqxpcEJordan:  “Within a few months, Rock Man meets a young lady who seems to be the perfect match – outgoing, high energy and smart.”

Matt:  “They get married?”

Jordan:  “He was balking until I beat him over the head.  I kept telling him she was perfect for him.”

Matt:  “So, they get married…then what?”

Jordan:  “Short version. She gets a job at the local branch of an international arrow-upinsurance company.  Performs well and gets on a fast track.  In less than 15 years, she goes from glorified clerk in a branch to head of one of the company’s major international operations.”

Matt:  “Wow, that’s impressive.  Any kids?”

Jordan:  “Two.  Girl and boy.  The girl is old enough to have college on her mind.  She’s torn between Harvard and Yale.  I keep pushing MIT but to no avail.  The son is not yet on a hunt for college.”

Matt:  “So what did Rock Man do while the wife is playing Ms. Corporate black-man-cookingExecutive?”

Jordan:  “Rock Man becomes Mr. Mom.”

Matt:  “Mmm, isn’t being Mr. Mom a bit unusual in the black community?”

Jordan:  “I think it is unusual…likely highly unusual.  Aside from migrating from poor cotton farmers…now I’ll use Rock Man’s terms…who were too poor to have a pot to piss in…to college graduate, what really impresses me about Rock Man is the willingness to change roles.  Being Mr. Mom and supporting the kids seems so out of character for most black men that I thought he’d be an ideal role model.”

Matt:  “Agreed.  Who’s #2 on the list?”

Jordan:  “Ever use one of those super squirt guns?”

super-soakerMatt:  “They’re a blast.  We used to have water fights with those.  Why?”

Jordan:  “Know who invented the super squirt gun?”

Matt:  “I confess.  I have no idea.”

Jordan:  “His name is Lonnie Johnson.  Worked at NASA before the squirt gun became wildly popular.  As I understand, he used the proceeds from the squirt gun to start a technology company.”

Matt:  “What was the business?”

lithium-air-battery1-520x448-4ea97b0-introJordan:  “Advanced batteries.  For the record, lithium air batteries.  Trust me, a tough task.”

Matt:  “Again, interesting story but why is this guy a role model for the black community…and I assume this guy’s black?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  In addition to starting a high-tech battery company, which is impressive by itself, he locates the company in a very rough part of Atlanta.  Then he tries to hire as many neighborhood people as possible.  He also recruits as many black engineers as possible.  15-20 years black-hand-clapping-mdfrom now, I might question his bias toward black engineers.  But today he should be applauded for making an effort to employ as many blacks as possible in his high-tech company.”

Matt:  “Who’s the 3rd guy?”  (Continued)

  

#221 Rioters in Charlotte. Drive Looking through the Windshield or the Rearview Mirror? (Part 3)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation for this series starts Entry #219.

Matt:  “OK, you’re suggesting the individuals in the black community in 092615_2031_Characters11.pngCharlotte, or at least the rioters in Charlotte, look in the mirror and acknowledge that they need to take charge of their lives.’”

Jordan:  “You got it.  Simple, huh?”

Matt:  “So, if I’m part of the black community and decide to take charge of my life, what am I supposed to do?  Where do I start?”

Jordan:  “I feel as if I’m a broken record.  Let’s start with the basics.”

Matt:  “You mean like overcoming racism.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Matt, Matt.  You’re a reporter, a writer, and if I remember correctly a history major.”

Matt:  “Yes…and so…?”

Jordan:  “…and so you really expect racism to disappear?  Expecting racism to disappear is sheer folly.”

Matt:  “C’mon.  Why sheer folly?”

Jordan:  “I’m not sure why people don’t get my point.  Racism has existed at least pyramid2since the Egyptians enslaved the Jews about 6,000 years ago, and probably before that.”

Matt:  “So if racism has been around at least that long, then why should people’s attitudes change now?”

Jordan:  “Right.  My advice to the black community – quit focusing on racism as an issue.  Spend time and efforts on projects that can yield positive results.”

Matt:  “Alright, my last comment about racism.  You don’t think trying to eliminate racism, or trying to reduce it dramatically, is a worthwhile effort.  Is that right?“

Jordan:  “I’m a realist.  As I’ve said many times, trying to reduce racism is like stringpushing on a string.  A fruitless effort.  Do a reality check.  Every other…and, yes, I mean every other…every other ethnic group in this country has faced some form of racism.  And many of those groups still do.”

Matt:  “I assume your point is those groups didn’t focus on trying to reduce racism.  Instead they focused on trying to get ahead.  And when they did, most of the racism disappeared.”

Jordan:  “How difficult is that to understand?  If you know you can’t fix bang-head-against-wallsomething, why keep trying?  Quit banging your head against the wall and work around the problem.  Whether any of us like it or not, racism is very likely here to stay.”

Matt:  “Then where should the black community…at least those in Charlotte who rioted…where should they begin?  What should they do?”

Jordan:  “To start I’d make a list addressing three key items. #1, what’s the checklistvision?  Where do you want to be?  #2, where are you now?  List positives and negatives.  Just a list of facts…and no finger-pointing, no excuses. #3, who might help the group achieve their vision?  The only restriction is no one on the ‘who can help list’ should be expected to provide money.”

Matt:  “What will this information really do?  And why no money?”

Jordan:  “To quote Lewis Carroll, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road malfunction-junction-atlwill get you there.’  The vision will provide where you want to go.  The other information is to help you get there.  To get to your destination, you’ve got to have a road map…OK call it GPS…but step #1 is deciding where you want to go.”

Matt:  “Why no money?”

Jordan:  “Money is not the issue.  The issue is having the vision.  Where do they want to go?  Having money with no vision is a recipe for disaster.  Talking about money, if any is really needed, comes later.  First, you must have the vision.”

Matt:  “You don’t think they have a vision?”

Jordan:  “You tell me, what’s the black community stand for?  What’s there vision?”

Matt:  “My cynical response?  Provide an array of football players, basketball players and entertainers.”

Jordan:  “That might be a cynical response but a view that is probably fairly mortar-boardwidely held.  In contrast, what do you think the Asian community focuses on?  What about the Jewish community?”

Matt:  “Education and education.”

Jordan:  “Reminds of a story.  Scene: inauguration of the first Jewish US president.  Person sitting next to the president’s mother, ‘You must be very proud of your son…the first Jewish president.’  Mother responds, ‘Yes, I’m proud.  But you should meet his brother, the doctor.’”

Matt:  “That’s funny, but a lot of truth in that, too.  Let’s face it, though, not everybody is cut out for a college education.  What about those who aren’t?”

plumber_3Jordan:  “Education doesn’t have to mean college.  Being in the skilled trades requires a lot of training…and will require even more so in the future.  Skilled trades are a great career track.”

Matt:  “If I understand, you’re describing a vision of a black community that is, in many ways, self-sustaining.  A black community that is part of a larger community but, if needed, can pretty much operate on its own.  Doctors, lawyers, merchant chiefs, skilled trades, teachers…the whole gamut.”

Jordan:  “Exactly.  That kind of self-sustaining community is not going to happen overnight…probably 2-3 generations, maybe longer.  But a self-sustaining black past-to-futurecommunity will never happen unless the black community stops focusing on the past and makes a serious effort to decide what it wants to be in the future.  Then lays out where it is today.”

Matt:  “Understanding the gaps.”

Jordan:  “Understanding gaps with no sugar-coating.   (Continued)

#220 Rioters in Charlotte. Drive Looking through the Windshield or the Rearview Mirror? (Part 2)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation for this series starts Entry #219.

Jordan:  “So, Matt, we agree that for anyone or any group to make progress, one needs to look through the windshield and not the rearview mirror.”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Yes, it seems logical.  But are you suggesting people ignore the past…and just look ahead?”

Jordan:  “Not at all.  Go back to driving.  You look through the windshield and occasionally check the rearview mirror…and the side mirrors.  But you check mirrors just for reference.”

Matt:  “As simple as the metaphor is, I never thought about viewing life in the Carsame way as how one drives – looking through the windshield.  Interesting and simple concept.”

Jordan:  “Glad you like it.”

Matt:  “I’m still a bit confused, however.  How do I let go of the past?  You know, stuff in life that you might see in the rearview mirror.”

Jordan:  “Give me an example.”

Matt:  “What about slavery?  Should the black community, or for that matter the the-underground-railroad-2white community, just forget about slavery?  I mean, that’s hard to forget.”

Jordan:  “I agree.  However, slavery ended in the US 150+ years ago.  That’s 6-7 generations.”

Matt:  “So in today’s rearview mirror, slavery is barely visible.  Slavery is unlike a highly visible semi-truck tailgating you.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Now you understand the idea.  Look, I’m not saying forget slavery completely.  But to make any progress, you have to focus on current issues.  Issues that are either causing a problem or going to cause a problem.”

Matt:  “You mean like avoiding a major accident.”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Good example.  Have you ever been able to avoid what could have been a major accident?”

1990mazdamiata_01_700Matt:  “Several times.  For some reason, the one that comes to mind first was in my Miata.”

Jordan:  “I didn’t know you had a Miata.  I’ve got an original.  Bought it new.  And a very low VIN.  Anyway, tell me about the almost accident.”

Matt:  “On the Interstate, right lane and just coming up to pass an 18-wheeler.  A tire on the back of the trailer comes apart and I’m faced with a large, ugly tire alligatorgator bouncing around in my lane.”

Jordan:  “Mmm.  Not good.  If you don’t get out-of-the-way and run over the gator, the underside of your Miata is ripped out…and who knows what else happens.  What’d you do?”

Matt:  “Hard right into the breakdown lane.  I avoided the gator but made the mistake of cutting back too sharply.  I’m then faced with an equally difficult situation.  If I try to correct too quickly, I might flip the car and then I’m toast.”

Jordan:  “Or…?”

median-highway-barriers-form_031Matt:  “If I head across all the lanes as an escape, I’m facing a median blocked by a concrete barrier.  There’s no grassy bailout area.”

Jordan:  “Now what?”

Matt:  “Fortunately, I’d been checking the rearview mirror regularly so I knew I had about ¼ mile space before any other cars.  I decided to it the brakes hard and hopefully slide across the road but not hit the barrier.”

Jordan:  “Were you successful?”

u-turnMatt:  “Yes.  I ended up in the outside breakdown lane but facing the wrong way – looking into traffic.  After a few cars passed, shifted into first, did a U-turn and went on my way.”

Jordan:  “Need to change your underwear?” 

Matt:  “Almost.  Now that I’ve told my story, tell me what lessons are relevant for black community?  What are they supposed to learn from my experience about avoiding an accident?”

Jordan:  “My take is three key lessons.  Lesson #1 — conditions in life can change quickly and most of the time those changes are out of your control.”

Matt:  “Like having a tire come apart right in front of me.  Nothing I could do to prevent that occurrence.”

Jordan:  “Lesson #2 — even if the event is out of your control, the response to the event is under your control.  You had the option of staying the course and Whiningnot changing your behavior.  You could have whined and blamed the truck driver all day long for the tire coming apart.  But, blaming and whining would have accomplished nothing.  If you didn’t change your behavior…and change it quickly…the outcome was likely very serious damage to the car and possibly you.”

Matt:  “But the avoidance maneuver was not without risk.  There might have been who knows what in the breakdown lane and then I slid across the pavement.”

Jordan:  “True.  But the risks associated with doing something were far less than doing nothing.”

Matt:  “What’s the 3rd lesson?”

Jordan:  “Lesson #3 – understand the conditions around you before take action.  Connecting DotsMake sure you’re connecting the dots.  Because you were constantly gathering data as you drove, you knew certain options were available.  Even after you made a mistake and over-corrected, you knew you had the option of sliding across the pavement without getting broadsided.  Even though you had only a second or so to decide, you were able to consider multiple options because you were knowledgeable and prepared.”

Matt:  “I’m still a bit confused.   If I’m black, what should I be doing?  Obviously the question doesn’t apply to everyone in the black community, but if we go back to the rioters in Charlotte, which is where we started this conversation, what behavior change should I be considering?”

Jordan:  “First, spend your time looking ahead.  It’s OK to glance in the rearview mirror occasionally, but your life lies ahead of you, not behind you.  Second, mirror-clipart_jpgrecognize events will occur that are out of your control.  Blaming someone else for those events might make you feel good but blaming…and especially rioting and damaging other property…does not solve the problem.  Don’t be stupid and make matters worse.  Third, and this may be the most important, take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that you and you alone are responsible for how you react to those events.  You cannot blame anyone else for how you react.  Your reaction is your choice.”

(Continued)