by Marion Marks
Among the greatest advantages of being very young or very old is the ability to accept being called crazy or idealistic. The young are excused because of their innocence or naivety, whereas the old are addled or senile. Yet there is truth in the oft quoted saying, “out of the mouth of babes…”
Politics and life collect the bitterest of critics, quite often as a response to greed, envy and struggles for fear of a loss of control. Accepting choices that are not our own, seen as giving up control by many, or becoming a loyal follower, is difficult for people who expect to always be in control. And society or the media has attempted to educate citizens that they should always be able to control their destiny. Regretfully, appreciating the differences in what parts of ones life where this is possible as opposed to where it is not is a systemic failure.
The ability of a mature citizen to understand the differences in the segments of our lives where we do have complete control, or should, is a topic that some educators and political manipulators purposefully obscure, as they seek to control not only the discussion but the future of others. I believe that here is the pivot between progressive or liberal philosophy and controlling of conservative philosophy in light of allowing others to make choices.
The most conservative among us in the political world will take great offense with my statements, because they believe that individual rights and freedoms are derived from allowing others to decide their own future. However, in giving the right to themselves, they seek to infringe on others by limiting their ability to chose their own destiny. They believe that their own personal successes are purely the fruits of their hard work and wise decisions. But all too often their successes are the product of understanding the rules that may have rigged the system against others.
The most liberal among us, on the other hand, often see the rights of all as a requirement to excuse and defend the failures or irresponsibility and demand that society must always level the playing field and water down curriculums, laws and programs to reward failures in the same way that successes recognize achievement. Such folly would destroy the initiatives and drive of many, and the system as a whole would be dragged down through inertia from the bottom.
So the quandary of leadership and education becomes recognizing and promoting the brightest and the creative while diagnosing and raising the weakest with the limited resources within the system. Government and education becomes a balancing act of fits and starts of creative financing, magic and attempts to use growth to finance necessary programs to move the whole population along a maturing curve. The truly gifted leader must have the skills to demonstrate an appreciation of the needs of the loudest parties and satisfy enough of the demands of all parties along the term he or she is in charge.
The environment of the current political season has so many wild cards that the metrics, even when seems in retrospect, require magicians to forecast the consequences of gaffs that in former times would have blown other candidates completely out of the race. Measuring whose comments are crazy, idealistic or naïve is often a matter of determining the POV of the audience.
All I do know is that I would much rather spend our resources on education and risk assets gambling on the future as opposed to rewarding the greed and negativity of those who only see what is wrong with the past. There is no question we have made many mistakes in the past. Yes the system may have been broken at many levels. But we can’t tear everything down, destroy what is responsible for so much good, because there are “X” many problems. We can’t let the best be the enemy of the good. We need to systematically fix what is broken. We must find, one by one, the crooks or failures that are not reparable, and bring them to task.
In the “Big Scheme of Things” supporting the educational system, voting to approve taxes to educate children, is necessary. There are some bad administrators, teachers, janitors, bus drivers. They can be singled out without dragging down all those who are not criminals or doing the right thing. So, go to the polls and vote yes, and we can solve the other problems next week.