Inspection- Train Wreck: the Final Analysis

I really prefer to write columns that stand on their own. If I feel it necessary to do a two part column, I prefer to go on after that. Any topic, no matter how it’s approached, can anger some. I don’t know about you, but kicking a sleeping guard dog just once can be too much. Twice not advised. Three times? Jeez, how stupid can one be?

Yet this is the third part in a series. It will stand on its own for those unwilling to search the archives for part one and two.. I guess that some subjects stick to me like quills after rolling in a bed made out of porcupines. To use an old, outdated, phrase: this subject definitely “sticks in my craw.”

What the hell is a craw? The dictionary definition linked to above seems to lack common sense. As did certain comments at a meeting I went to last weekend and Rep. Wilson’s words when President Obama spoke this week.

Here’s how the two relate…

During the meeting I went to a member of the organization spoke up, “The problem is a lot of folks here hate the railroad people…” a not unsubstantial number of those who attended the meeting are either pro-railroad or have good friends who are. Another said to the president of the organization, “No, the problem is a lot of us hate you.”

Of course we all know what was said to President Obama recently. While addressing the House, a Rep called him a liar; well screamed out actually, regarding the health care initiative.

While heading out of town I spoke with one of the folks who defended the “we hate the railroad people” comment. “(The leader) needed to hear that.” I’m sure the Rep. thought Obama needed to hear that some thought he was lying.

Let’s sit back and think about this rationally for a moment. Does anyone really think that President Obama doesn’t realize that some of the folks on the other side may think he’s a liar sometimes? In the same sense, my guess is the president of any organization realizes that there’s animosity towards her… or him… and when some of the policies that get pushed; actions taken, are hated too.

So my guess is any advantage to this kind of venting is limited at best: if there’s any advantage at all. Another local suggested that such venting will “let it all out so things can calm down… eventually.” My guess is just the opposite: such comments make those who agree more sure of themselves and more angry, and those who disagree join forces… and if they weren’t angry before; they sure as hell are now.

Another question must be typed, though I loath to do so. There are some leaders who become such a lightning rod that whatever good they wish to achieve actually backfires. They become the issue. We kind of saw that with Bill Clinton. We saw less with George H W. I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that with Barack Obama. We were there with George W… but he and his people didn’t care.

There’s an interesting line between one who is a dictator wannabe and a true representative. That’s when they think what they think, what they want, and whatever agendas they may have, become more important than serving large portions of the public who disagree with them. George was asked when he ascended if he knew that he was to be president of all the people, not just those who voted for him. He said he knew that.

Did he behave that way?

Hell no.

Any leader of any organization needs to constantly assess whether they have become so much the issue that this is a problem, no matter how ill-deserved the situation may be. Is that becoming true of the leadership during my meeting? I don’t know. But I do believe this is something leaders must assess themselves. Just be aware that if you ever become more important than those you serve, then you, not what you work for, has become “the problem.”

After eight years under someone who thought their agenda was more important and to hell with what others think, just look at the economy, the wars that supposedly were to only last a few months and pay for themselves, the torture mess and just where the Hell is Osama? Maybe under all those books and stuff that W. laughed about when looking for fictional WMD that Cheney claimed would be easy to find?

Did he even realize that thousands had died searching for those weapons? One thing that marks some of the worst, most dictatorial, leaders humanity has had is their insensitivity. This “insensitivity” can often be found in their willingness to laugh at and express scorn that’s actually directed at the concerns of their subjects.

“Let them eat cake.”

I would hope that Cheney, Bush, Rice and all the fellow former administration members would have rather given the next administration no wars, a booming economy, no torture problems and Osama’s head with an apple in it. I wish I could believe that. Let’s just say… considering unfunny moments like making fun of the search for WMD: I have my doubts, to put it mildly.

This is what happens when trains wreck. They go out of control. If we’re lucky the engineer: our leader, isn’t so callous. Or so busy squabbling… causing in fighting… that they’re not paying attention to all they need to. One hopes they’re actually paying attention to keeping the train safe and on the tracks. But it also becomes hard… if not impossible… when the passengers and those who work on the train are screaming and yelling; calling names and accusations: distracting the engineer and contributing to the wreck.

But that is what America is like today. That is also how I felt sometimes during that meeting when I listened to a long “trouble here in River City” talk and people screaming and yelling accusations.

Do you hear that?

I think it’s a train whistle.

Run for your damn lives.

-30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

Copyright 2009
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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