11
Oct
11

Choose Your Fights Nightly or Choose Your Fights Wisely

I drove my way through traffic today and took a side street to avoid some monstrous heart attack pile-up of angry drivers and their cars. This alternate route took me right in front of some middle school where I witnessed a small standing crowd (small is putting it lightly-maybe four people total, it looked like one guy was just lost) holding signs announcing their intent on stopping the huge financial support schools receive from parents for athletics and the need to redistribute some of that cash to the art programs. Being an artist myself (thirty years as a graphic designer) you might imagine I would tend to agree with their assessment of this lopsided support of school curricula but you would be dead wrong. Sports have been and will probably always be more supported by our schools. The number of kids who have true drawing talents are minimal in comparison to how many kids can go out there and run around with a ball. If you suck playing the violin no one wants to come hear you play, but most parents can take the time to watch their kid go apeshit running back and forth playing soccer or baseball or some other sport. I say to this meager gathering of protesters go home, you lost this one.

That seems to be one of the problems causing a clash between political idealogues from sea to shining sea. Everyone feels they have the solution, the only solution and nothing but the solution to fix America’s sagging economy, the drug crisis, oversea wars, lack of jobs and everything else. I’m sure there is a bit of right in all these people. Somewhere amidst their pretzel logic approach to our nation’s failing are glimmers of hope (I won’t say change, I promise), solid reasoning and good advice. The good news is we’re a democracy; the bad news is, we’re a democracy. That means that everyone is supposed to get a vote and although some of those votes end up in a swamp somewhere down in Florida, the concept is to let all the people be represented to have a say-so. People forget to stop and remember, we’re all in it together so we’d better learn to share.

Compromise is a dirty word when flung in the face of a zealot. Both liberals and conservatives alike have their share of good ideas and bad ideas but none will be successfully launched as long as we keep this philosophical tug-of-war going. Our side wants this and we won’t give in and inch. Their side wants that and they’re not willing to back off their demands. It reminds me of this business management exercise I was privy to witness some years ago. The seminar was led by a gentleman who took sixteen people and split them up into four groups while the rest of the audience watched. He gave each group a large easel-sized notepad and some markers and told then he wanted them to plan out a garden to grow vegetables to make money. The group had a three thousand dollar limitation but they had to devise a plan within four minutes. The groups began to buzz away, gestures were made, hands pointed at one another with controlled fury, heads shook but very little marking hit the note pads-except one group. They started sketching something out, kind of smiled and laughed with one another. The other groups continued to get red-faced and argue with one another. At the end of the four minutes, one group had things sketched out on their note pad-one out of four. Each of the three groups that produced nothing gave excuse as to why they had accomplished nothing; lack of cooperation, they were still trying to decide a plan of attack to best cover all the vegetables that would sell, using some of their money to get a committee together to find out what the most popular vegetables were. The leader of the exercise had forseen this happening. He whispered to me as the four minute ordeal took place how most of the people wouldn’t get anything accomplished because they would lack the ability to compromise. The one group that did put stuff on their note pad kind of threw a bunch of ideas on the pad and explained they planned to come back after one season’s harvest and evaluate what worked and what didn’t…brilliant! They actually got something fucking done!

That is what our country needs to do. Stop worrying so much about every agenda and work on things that we can agree upon. Agree to give a little so you can get a little. Focus on the big picture and stop worrying about the smaller investment right now because we are in a more critical state to be fixing every hole in the dike. Address the real priorities and let the rest sit a while; as I am accustomed to saying, why worry about your shoe being untied when your fucking head is on fire?

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