Thursday, November 26, 2020

At A Distance


Like the rest of the world, I am so ready for this pandemic to come to an end.  I want people to travel again, to visit family and friends.  I want church to be like it should be with fellowship, hugs and handshakes. I want to see stadiums filled with cheering fans. Let’s get back to living.


But, with that said, I must admit that I don’t miss the things that most people have missed during 2020.  I have always been a loner.  An only child who did not need others for entertainment.  A child who enjoyed playing with other kids but did not need them.  As I grew older, I loved sports and was a good teammate, but always needed my space.  I need long drives by myself with just music and my thoughts.  I need time to read and to sleep, both being the ultimate escapes for me.


As a student, nothing was more draining for me than “group projects”.   Ok, let’s meet, assign the tasks and get on with it.  Everyone do their job and we’ll be fine.  But that’s not how it works is it?  It always takes twice as long as it should and is seldom done well.  The only people who like group projects are little dictators, cheerleaders and slackers who have no issue with letting others do the heavy lifting.  The rest of us, even those who aren’t loners, despise group projects.  


As an adult in the business world, one does what one must do to succeed.  And that means meetings and committees and other peoples' problems by the bushel.  But, that’s the job.  So one compartmentalizes and forges ahead, hopefully, with at least a few relatively capable and trustworthy people around them. 


And now as an even older adult, I have been working remote for some years.  Constantly on the phone, or emailing, or texting…busy and interacting with a lot of people from all over the country.  I meet more new people daily than I ever did during my years managing transportation companies.  I like the action, the variety and most of all I like talking to people about things that really matter…whom they should hire... or should they go to work for this or that company.  Even more I like the fact that no one is standing at my door.  And if the phone rings, most of the time, I do not have to answer it at that moment.  The same for emails and text messages.  Usually they can wait, if only for a few minutes.  And, when the day is over no one is pressing me to go do something, drink something, eat something or discuss something which is most often pointless and of no consequence.


So, indeed I like my time and my space.  It is not a positive trait for anyone aspiring to high position and a major reason why I “under-achieved” for most of my career.  The ladder is crowded and you cannot climb it alone.  I do not miss the ladder.


When this pandemic is over they say we will have a new normal.  I think it will look a lot like the old normal.  More people will work from home, so there may be a bit less traffic for a while.  Business travel will be slow to rebound as companies have discovered that so much of that expensive travel was unnecessary in the first place.  But everything else will fill up quickly.  Holiday, vacation and weekend travel will explode.  Those restaurants, bars, theaters and assorted other gathering spots that did not go out of business will be packed with happy patrons.  Free at last, free at last.


But, those of us who prefer to walk alone will not be joining you.  So by all means, please celebrate your happiness and your return to the freedom of gathering and rubbing elbows, nibbling from one another’s plates, singing, dancing, drinking or praying to the gods you have chosen.  You can have my seat.  I will be elsewhere, at a distance, thankful and quite happy not to be there.

"He liked to get off by himself, a mile or so from camp, and listen to the country, not the men."

-Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove



Monday, November 9, 2020

The Swamp Fights Back

Memo to Donald Trump, The Trump Team and other Trump Loyalists: 

The Presidential Election is over. I am not a Trump Loyalist, but he did get my vote…again. So I guess I lost as well. But the loss was inevitable. 2016 was a fluke. Only Hillary Clinton could snatch unlikely defeat from the jaws of certain victory. 

And, in the end, it all worked out just fine. Even though Trump failed to drain the swamp, he did reveal it for what it is. Even those who hate Trump have to admit that the deck was stacked. The traps were set and he stepped into every one of them. Yet along the way he put the rest of the world on notice that a large segment of America wasn’t going to take it anymore. Bad trade deals, picking up the tab for the rest of the world’s mistakes and misadventures, bowing to environmental extremists and leaving the doors to our borders unguarded? Not anymore. Judges spinning the constitution to fit their own agendas and legislating from the bench…no longer, at least for now. 

Donald Trump was and is his own worst enemy. Take away the tweets, the nasty comments about his opponents, the lies, the lack of empathy for others…just the whole narcissistic creature that is Donald Trump and you would not have Joe Biden heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But then you would not have had Trump either. And without a global pandemic, Trump might still be getting another four years; warts, tweets and all. 

The Swamp may have fought back and turned Trump away. But in the process The Swamp confirmed what many Americans had suspected all along. Career politicians and entrenched government bureaucrats do not like change unless it is on their terms and to their benefit. And that is true for both Democrats and Republicans. The mainstream media finally went all in on their progressive agenda and without pretense showed America that objective journalism is dead. And as if to try and balance the scales, many voices on the right seemed to become even more unhinged and obsessed with apocalyptic visions of the United States becoming another Venezuela. 

The Swamp survives, but now everyone knows it’s there. And it’s full of lies and twisted half-truths. But it resides in the greatest nation on earth, perhaps the greatest that the world has ever known. Any other country would have fallen apart by now. Only the United States could be what it is and still be a great nation. Yes, we have The Swamp. But it’s our Swamp, so we have learned to live with it. Draining it would cost too much and, besides, it would only fill back up.

“It makes sense that a witch lives in a swamp” – Jordan Peterson