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.”