The ability to say, "Okay, this may happen, let's take a look and see what can be done" is, in my oh-so humble opinion, the key to staying afloat in a global economy.
The only time I am able to watch TV is when I'm at the gym. I always see this one guy on MSNBC, I don't remember his name. He's always bashing Obama. Every time I've seen him, I've had some of the same reactions.
a. Can't you come up with anything else to talk about besides Obama?
b. The other options besides Obama would have been an embarrassment to this country.
c. Whose views do you think you are representing and/or voicing?
Then, I started thinking about various other things.
1. I thought about this snowstorm and the city's response to it. Sure, we don't get blizzards every other day but as a city official, one of your roles is to create plans for how we deal with various situations in the event that they happen. That's called preparation and it would seem to me to be an important part of being a government official.
2. Prop 8 in California.
Why was it that California voted against it? and more importantly, what types of people voted against it?
I've mentioned Gavin Newsom on this blog occasionally, he's the mayor of San Francisco. Some have criticized him for an ad he was in, in which he was advocating against Prop 8. During this ad he said, "This is going to happen". Some people did not take kindly to this assertion and some have said it caused a knee jerk reaction.
3. Sex Ed.
Who's against sex ed? People who can't seem to comprehend the fact that kids become young adults who become adults. Somewhere in that procession of events, kids will have sex. It will happen. Why not provide them with scientific facts about sex, STDs, etc.? The point being that people will at some point have sex. It's going to happen.
4. Car companies
The car companies that really suffered were the ones who couldn't streamline processes efficiently and effectively. They had tons of bureaucracy which slowed everything down. Meanwhile, other companies were able to export their cars here and thus, their inability to adapt with the times led to their downfall.
5. Traditional media
I've spoken with friends who had bosses who were sure that the internet would be a fad. I'll never quite understand why anyone would think that the internet would be a fad. But change it did. It wasn't just newspapers, it was also music and film companies wwho ere not willing to take it seriously, either.
Etc., etc. etc.
Then, I was reading Wired last night. There was a really interesting interview with Peter Thiel. He said a lot of things that I think are very true but one thing he said that really caught my attention was the following quote.
"We go bankrupt if radical progress doesn't happen & we don't realize it's not happening. That's a dangerous combination."
The interview continues on...
"Thiel: People take it for granted that their retirement funds can earn 8.5 percent a year. That’s what their financial planners tell them. And sure, you look back over the past 100 years, the stock market has generally gone up 6 to 8 percent a year. But in a larger historical perspective, that kind of growth is exceptional. If you had done the equivalent of investing in the stock market from, say, 1000 to 1100 AD, you would not have made 8 percent a year. During the fall of the Roman Empire, you’d have been lucky to get zero. We’ve been living in a unique period of accelerating technological progress. We’ve gone from horses to cars to planes to rockets to computers to the Internet in a very short time. It’s not automatic that that continues.
Wired: What happens if we don’t get the growth everyone expects?
Thiel: If it doesn’t happen, people will go bankrupt in retirement. There are systemic consequences, too. If we don’t have enough growth, we will see a powerful shift away from capitalism. There are good things and bad things about capitalism, but inequality becomes completely intolerable to society when everything’s static."
I was at a party a couple of months ago talking to a guy. We started talking about the city and I mentioned that I thought it could have much better transportation systems. He said, "Really? I think they're alright." *Shrug*
I wasn't quite sure how to respond except to say, "Well. I just think it could be better."
I've thought about that conversation recently and have decided that the attitude, "It's good enough, let's not look at new ways of changing it", may be what stops growth- and ultimately, stops our economy from prospering.
Side note: I heard a great idea the other day. It would be an economically beneficial idea for Pittsburgh were we to allow gay people to marry in the city.
Yeah, try selling that one to the people who don't like to hear, "This is going to happen".
I think part of my reason for not understanding people who can't deal with the idea of "this is going to happen" is that I've grown up in a time when things have changed every year. Change to me just seems like a normal part of every day life. I'm not saying that I'm an idealist who thinks that every change will be a good change or that the entirety of the world will be living comfortably and not at war. I'm just saying that to me, the idea of not preparing for change confuses me.