Okay, I will start this post with a disclaimer: This post is not meant to be an attack on President Trump — he won the election and is now the U.S. President and Commander in Chief. No matter what our political leanings, we must accept that fact. However, I do believe it is important for each of us to challenge specific actions. This blog post is really a “call” for all of us to address the myriad issues we are dealing with as a country in a much more BALANCED way…and realize that WE ARE THOSE GUYS.

In my Kellogg leadership classes and executive presentations, I advise everyone to “take the time to understand ALL sides of the issues,” and to “seek to understand before being understood.”  As my grandfather, Farrell Grehan, used to explain to me when I was in high school and complained that I didn’t understand why someone was doing something: “Harry, life is much simpler when you only understand your side of the story.”

It seems that almost every issue in the news today is addressed with extremes rather than thoughtfully trying to find a balance. Here are just a few examples (note that the answer in my opinion is usually YES!!):

Should the U.S. be focused on “America First” and making sure American citizens have the opportunities to improve their standard of living, OR
Should the U.S. play a role as a responsible global citizen in the manner we have since the end of WW2?
I think the answer is YES!!

Should the U.S. focus on expanding the free-market capitalistic system and eliminate regulation, OR
Should we realize that a free-market capitalistic system has many advantages, but that it is not perfect and a certain level of regulation is necessary?
Yes! How about a little BALANCE?!

Regarding immigration policy, should we be “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the U.S.”, OR
Should we realize that we all have family histories of immigration and immigration is one of the key reasons America became a great country?
Preventing students and even individuals with green cards from suddenly not being able to enter the country strikes me as extreme…..where is the balance?

Should we be exiting global trade agreements, OR
Realize that we live in a global world in which there are tremendous benefits to American citizens from having products produced in the lowest cost regions of the world?
Yes, there is no question that globalization can adversely impact some individuals, but is the answer to reduce trade? Or find ways to retrain these individuals in other areas of the economy?
I thought this was something we all learned in our first class in Economics in high school?!

Speaking of economics, I think it would be great if we could all make sure we took the time to understand some simple economics.  Here’s an example which I find amazing.  We have been told that we are going to build a wall on the Mexican border and Mexico is going to pay for it. While I am very tempted to address the logic (or lack thereof) of building a wall, I do have an “opinion” on the announcement that Mexico pay for the wall via a 20% tariff imposed by the U.S. on goods coming in from Mexico. Think about this for a moment.  Let’s assume that a product from Mexico is currently coming into the U.S. at a price of $10. If the U.S. puts a 20% tariff on the product to pay for the wall, what do you think the Mexican manufacturer is going to do?  My guess is that he will raise the price to $12 to cover the cost of the tariff. So, who is paying for the wall? The Mexicans? Or the Americans who are now paying $12 for a product that used to cost $10?

Okay, so what should WE be doing about all of these issues and the apparent lack of balance (and maybe lack of common sense)? In an earlier blog post I stated that rather than expecting that magical group of people called “those guys” to deal with these issues, each of us needs to realize that #IAmThoseGuys!!!!

Realizing #IAmThoseGuys means that you are not watching the movie, you are in the movie. This requires each of us to actually DO something proactive. Here’s a partial list of options:

  • Calling or writing your congressmen and representatives at the state and national level
  • Educating and teaching others of the need for “BALANCE”
  • Participating in marches and rallies
  • Running for office yourself

I remain ever an optimist.  And I believe that if each of us realizes #IAmThoseGuys, our representative democracy can continue to thrive the next 240 years and more!!!  The key is to get started and get involved!!!

I always appreciate hearing from you.