"It is also helpful to think of adversity not as much as a threat to our peace of mind but rather as the very means by which patience is attained." -the Dalai Lama
While reflecting on a collection of quotes the other day, the above roused me from my sleepy studies.
I have been working on patience for many years now. Okay, full disclosure...many, many years. (Lately, with better results though. It must come with age.)
However, I think I am running out of patience with our politicians. (Some of them old friends.) Perhaps you are already beyond the point of no return, but I'm tittering on the bitter edge. You might be able to prop me up a bit. Read on.
A colleague sent me a comment the other day after reading an article I tweeted. She lamented that Obama is using the "us versus them" language. My quick response was he didn't invent it. It's been in use for many decades now. And it's not owned by one political party, they are all guilty.
She encouraged me, with good humor of course, to go to D.C. and set them straight. "Tell them they work of all of us, not just some of us. And report back." I would love nothing more, but the task is obviously much larger than that.
I actually liked how Obama stood front and center with the Republicans and then did a repeat with the Democrats as well. My understanding is that, in that setting, it was a first. I think an interaction like that should be mandatory once a month from this point on for all presidents.
Obama challenged both groups to lead. (Fine, that forces him and his crew to Step Up [TM] as well.)
That's where my patience, or lack of it, comes in.
Unless you've been hiding under a large, mossy rock for decades, you know that our political system is under the weather. It has a virus far more virulent than the Swine Flu. Bed rest and plenty of fluids is not the answer. A couple shots of real leadership might break the impasse.
California is a great example of where the country is headed from a political perspective. What seems like a group of educated, informed adults appear unable to tie their shoes and chew gum at the same time. Their business is all about obfuscation and stalemate. Status quo. Zero change. Zip. Nada. If you challenge anyone of them, they point at the other guy.
Individually, they might be great to have a beer with at the end of a long day. I'm positive that some have great ideas we should be chewing on and debating. However, constructing a workable budget and governing appears to be an impossible dream. Some Californian's lives and businesses have become nightmares because of our elected officials immaturity and intransigence. California, the Golden State and former pride of the West, has fallen and can't get up.
Is this what we want for our country? Most, I suspect, would say no. They don't vote for that.
However, it appears there are enough folks out there who want nothing less than drowning government (except for the parts that selfishly served them). And it is those folks, with their colorful ways, who get the media attention that keeps the negative messages afloat. Our radio waves and cable outlets are filled with diatribe and flotsam.
Of course, I could fill a few pages with this and that about leadership being the answer. Moreover, please understand I am not politically naive and I am very aware of the great things that are being done out there by real people (like you) in the real world. (Follow me on Twitter @RobertHThompson to stay abreast.)
However, today, I'd rather know what you think about the ever-growing political stalemate and what might be done to banish it forever.
Don't be shy. Talk to me. Be serious or be funny, but please don't tell me to just be more patient.
Robert H. Thompson is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge and the author of The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge Fable. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for his newsletter at www.leaderinsideout.com.