Thursday, December 25, 2008

T'was The Day After Christmas, and Reality Sets Back In.

Benjamin Franklin
No caption needed!

The blogworld was resplendent with Holiday and Christmas greetings this year. Those of us who blog, post a greeting and wishes for their friends and readers in lieu of sending the time tested greeting cards. One post caught my eye for it's simple message to make a difference in someones life.
Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions wrote this:

During this holiday season, I encourage you make a difference in someone's life. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Well done is better than well said." Franklin also said, "A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle," which is one reason why so many people who selfishly focus on "finding themselves" get lost in the process.

Read the whole post Happy Holidays.

Steve's post about so many people being selfishly focused on themselves casts it's shadow on something that Dan of posted about the Competing Views of Education where he asks the question.

So should our education system concentrate on a ‘next generation’ of scientists and engineers, lawyers and MBAs, critical theorists and community activists, or something else?

Dan linked an article by Thomas L. Friedman: Time to Reboot America. Dan copied an important paragraph that explains what Friedman see wrong with Americans today. I think that Dan and Thomas Friedman are really on to something here. We as a nation need to reboot, or jump-start for those who are tech challenged. Living off the fat of the past half century has left us a nation of consumers, and micro managers, who have indulged in mental masturbation to achieve instant gratification at the cost of our souls and the financial future of our children and grandchildren.

Here is what Friedman thinks should be done.

For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us.

That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.

It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be spent on pork, it will be the end of us.

Friedman still thinks that American has the stuff to rise to the challenge.

America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.

John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.

Looking back two hundred and fifty years, Benjamin Franklin's words still ring true and are a guide for all to follow when charting their personal life's course. Some of our most trusted institutions have strayed from that path. We the citizens have a moral obligation to demand accountability and leadership that puts unselfishness first.

No comments: