Entrepreneurs and Politics: Get Real, Get Informed and Get Involved
As online professionals, (those who look to online business as a full-time profession, expecting it to make a profit), we are told to agree on one thing, if nothing else.
Never discuss religion or politics.
From a purely business point-of-view, they are roads to nowhere, or so the popular entrepreneurial wisdom would warn.
From a completely non-ideological perspective, however, it seems logical to me that standing on the sidelines benefits no one.
So, what can we agree on?
“People get the government they deserve.”
Most of us have heard the expression: “People get the government they deserve.”
That thought seems nearly axiomatic to me, but I doubt that we could even agree on who said it.
Many would suggest that it was the observation of Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous and highly complimentary book about American Democracy in the early 1800’s.
But I have also heard it said with authority that it should be attributed to Thomas Jefferson, William Shakespeare and even Hunter S. Thompson. Another likely candidate is the French-speaking philosopher, writer, lawyer, and diplomat, Joseph de Maistre.
I guess it doesn’t really matter.
Whoever said it, it strikes me as a truism — whether heard on the streets of Washington D.C. or Mainstreet USA , if not Cairo, or Kabul.
Uniformly, we get the government we deserve.
So again, what can we agree on?
Get Real, Get Informed and Get Involved
Here’s a thought: We should get real, get informed and get involved.
Get Real. With jobs, economic uncertainty and the welfare of the middle class, (that would be us), taking a paramount position in the forthcoming presidential election, can we afford the luxury of having no opinion?
Can we aspire to positions of so-called thought leadership without taking a stand?
Can we ignore being placed on center-stage in perhaps the most significant economic-political discussion in modern history?
Isn’t it time for us to get real?
Whatever our individual positions, it seems to me that we should at least get real.
We need to face the extant realities of our situation.
If we don’t create jobs in America, who should?
If we don’t care, who might?
If we ignore our central role, who loses? I guess we all will.
Get informed. We live in very complex times, especially economically.
We are confronted with myriad issues that require us to be knowledgeable.
Take for example, the national financial crisis that came to a head not too long ago.
We have heard a great deal about it, but what do we really know?
We know that we are concerned about the economy. We know that hiring workers is more than a little frightening in uncertain times. We know that there is a lot of finger pointing about who should share the blame. The answers are elusive, whatever our politics.
So, what should we do? What is our basic obligation in a free society?
One argument that makes sense to me as a baseline, is that we should all get informed.
We watch the news, listen to commentary and attend the occasional cocktail party where these things are being discussed. But what do we know intellectually?
We have heard about the Dodd-Frank Bill, but what does it provide? Is it good for middle America or not? Is it good for business or destructive?
In fact, how many of us know positively who Senators Dodd and Frank are? Why and how did they get involved in the first place?
And while we’re at it, who is Henry Merritt “Hank” Paulson, Jr., Timothy Franz Geithner, and why should we care?
We all know of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, but who is Brooksley Born?
We all know of the Federal Reserve Bank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but what is the CFTC?
If you’re scratching your head a bit, perhaps I have made my point. We should all get informed.
Get involved. Whatever our political persuasion, getting involved and taking a stand for our beliefs seems to me a mandatory step.
If we don’t get involved, shame on us.
If we remain on the sidelines, then we should expect to be sidelined in the future.
If we do not have the courage of our own convictions, who will?
235 years ago last month, after signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin purportedly said, “Gentlemen, we must all hang together or we shall most assuredly all hang separately.”
Those were much different times and clarity of purpose was a simpler idea then perhaps, but Franklin’s message is still clear.
We must all hang together.
Whether Democrat, Republican or Independent — whether businessman or politician — whether interested and committed or disinterested and searching — we all have an obligation to get and stay involved.
What Do You Think?
This has been my first and only political comment in twenty years online.
It may be an unpopular and ill-advised step.
But I hope and trust, for all our sakes, that it was the right thing to do.
What do you think?