On Your Watch

I try to avoid politics with people I don’t know, but here goes; we’ll see how many people I insult with this post.

First, let me say how much I hate most politicians. With some exceptions, and despite most of them starting out with good intentions, they end up as self-interested, holier-than-thou, self-righteous, dishonest, and dishonorable windbags. Like most Americans, I have a vested interest in the current election. After eight years suffering through the results of the Bush Presidency (financial crises, foreign wars that we started, declining dollar, skyrocketing oil, etc.), I, like most of you, am looking forward to a regime change.

It’s an interesting mix of people running for the top spots. On one side, we have Barack Obama, who touts the word “change” as if that’s all it takes to make everything in Washington work as it should. He seems to have a good understanding of economic policy (if anyone can really “understand” it) and is clearly a very smart man. His running mate, Joe Biden, albeit a “gaffe machine”, has been around Washington long enough to know how it really works and can give Obama an earful on the foreign policy experience that Obama lacks.

On the other side we have John McCain, decorated war veteran, who served his country with distinction. He’s a smart man as well, and clearly cares for his country. He’s more “old school” on some issues, like maitaining troops in Iraq to ensure long-term stability. However, his plan to give more tax cuts to the wealthy (like Reagan’s and Bush Jr.’s trickle-down economics) and health-crisis plans (“we’ll assemble the best minds in the country”, gee, why didn’t anyone else think of that?) are clearly out of touch. His negative campaign has been thoroughly disgusting. If he wants to win any votes, he should run on his positive image and his policy plans. And, if he really cares about his country, he should end the divisive retoric in his messages. His running mate, Sarah Palin, while likeable, is clearly out of touch with the world. Who would have thought that she’d be tapped as a V.P. candidate? Clearly not Palin or she might have picked up a Time magazine, read it, and remembered what it was called.

Our current President dug himself into so many holes due to his own hubris, ignorance, and lack of respect for the opinions of others. While he didn’t bring down the World Trade Center, his administration had clues of attacks that were ignored. He didn’t make risky loans to homeowners, but he was in office making sure that his rich friends were well looked after, got all of the appropriate tax cuts, and had little oversight in the process. He clearly wasn’t responsible for invading two countries (Irag and Afghanistan), but, oh wait, that was all him, wasn’t it? Yes, it all happened on his watch.

How does all of this apply to you and me? It applies in several ways. First, it’s our responsibility to choose the next people to run the country. I can’t tell you who will do the better job. I can only implore you to select the people who are smart, won’t repeat the mistakes of the past, and will keep an open mind to changing the status quo. It also wouldn’t suck if they could pronounce nuclear properly (it’s new-klee-ur, not new-kya-ler).

Second, when you see things that are screwy in your own life (at work or home), you have the responsibility to make recommendations to the powers that can do something about them. If you’re the manager who has the power and you know something is going on in your own group, then it’s your responsibility to make it right. Turning a blind eye and hoping it will go away or somehow just work out, will not make it so. What happens is on your watch.