Our country was formed as a representative democracy with a balance between the three branches of government to provide a check and balance to protect "We the people." Our government has deteriorated into constituencies, which drive only for constituent gains. We have traded being a beacon for the world, to groups of people who are selfishly grabbing pieces of an ever-shrinking pie. Each constituency seems to feel that their end justifies the means, resulting in spinning the truth, telling flat-out lies while ignoring impending doom. We still think "greed is good," while much of the world is repulsed instead of being inspired.
Ignoring Impending Doom
Pleasing its constituents, the Bush administration reduced taxes on the wealthy, borrowed money to fight two wars, deregulated our financial system and watched its constituents grow rich while leading us to the brink of a "global economic meltdown." The Obama administration found that getting us out of the domestic and international mess created by the Bush administration is going to be more difficult than they thought, but they continue spending money we don't have to please their constituents. Our government can't get anything done, while competing economies are growing with decisive actions.
Self-Imposed Trance of Greatness
Our greed has taken us to a point in history that looks familiar to the fall of other large nation states, or empires. To name a few: Rome, Great Britain and the Soviet Union all fell because they overextended their resources, fought too many foreign wars, and alienated themselves from the world with selfish policies. They lived under a self-imposed trance of greatness that they felt would overcome financial issues, internal bickering and greed. "We are the greatest nation on earth" was a theme that echoed throughout the chambers of all these empires long after their greatness had turned into constituency-based greed. This trance blinded them to problems, which are obvious now, but were considered close to treason at critical times when change was necessary. I am even nervous writing the blog, thinking all those who presently support me will see me as "Anti-American."
Can We Awaken From This Trance Before It Is Too Late?
If we use history as our guide, the answer is clearly no. It seems that most people, companies and nations, have to hit bottom before achieving enlightenment. If we don't admit that we have hit bottom or are wrong, we cannot change our ways. That is why alcoholics will not recover until they admit they are dependent on alcohol. We as a nation are dependent on greed and have built a system of constituency government that reinforces greed.
It amazes me that anyone can think that for-profit healthcare is a good idea. I don't get the debate. How can a country's people be so brainwashed that they can believe a for-profit system has their best interest in mind, when preexisting conditions prevent you from buying insurance, and many policies do not cover expenses that might save your life? Forty-five million people are uninsured, and we feel that it is not our problem. Where is our compassion for the "least among us?" I think we are close to hitting bottom, when these kinds of things are being debated.
I know we are addicted to greed when a proposition in my town to increase real estate taxes by a very small amount to continue critical programs for our children is rejected by the voters. Let's all say it together, "We are greedy and it is destroying our way of life."
Yes, what you are thinking is right; I have not presented any solutions. I am a business leader, and all I know is I would not run a business like this. I would like to hear your solutions to these problems. I would like to start a national dialogue to find solutions that are not based on constituency politics. Let's just talk it through; we will know when we have found the answer.