This week my wife was discouraged. She is taking a graduate course to complete her Masters in English. It is quite possible that what she is experiencing is a bit of a generation gap more than anything else. I am 56 years young and she will not let me give out her age, but suffice it to say that I married a younger women who now has six grandchildren. I do not believe it is a generation gap. I believe it is more of a personality gap? My wife is an realist and I am more of idealist. She is a administrator and I am more of an artist. She asks a lot of how questions, and I am constantly asking why. Could it be that her colleagues in the graduate course are younger. more idealistic, and less pragmatic? I think this is highly likely. Winston Churchill once said, "Anyone who isn’t a liberal by age 20 has no heart. Anyone who isn’t a conservative by age 40 has no brain." I confess to having liberal ideas, and my scarecrow persona as in the Wizard of Oz has mellowed with age.
Now no one is entirely an idealist or entirely a realist. It is all a matter of degrees. I think however people have a first line of attack strategy for solving problems. The idealist will tend to push their ideas first, and then consider their advisers' ideas. Perhaps a much better strategy is to let the ownership of an idea originate from others when building consensus. In our current political environment of party polarization, this is much more important. I believe either candidate is savvy enough to see the need for idea ownership at the chief executive level to build consensus. I am only concerned that the split second decisions of the chief executive role could lead to more mistakes that could break deals between legislatures to solve our most serious problems.
For example let's look at the problem of energy. I live in Pennsylvania. I grew up in coal country in western Pennsylvania, and I now live in Eastern Delaware County which is very blue collar. Governor Romney has earned points from the coal caucus in my state. He has not done this by laying out an energy policy that highlights coal. He has done this by not setting a policy against coal. Here is a video created by some of the rank and file that mine coal in Ohio.
Thomas Peterffy is a Hungarian immigrant who has purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising on television. Peterffy is the 189th wealthiest billionaire in the world with a net worth of $5.4 billion. No one is manipulating him to run these ads. He is a self made man that has made his wealth by employing his wit and cunning at the core of our capitalistic system. His fervent belief in the free enterprise system is at the core of his ideals. This man grew up in a socialist country. In his own life time he has lived the American dream. Would this have been possible in Europe? Mr. Peterffy does not seem to think so. He is spending this money because he believes that this system is in jeopardy. Can we protect and defend our middle class by a top down strategy? At the right time I believe so. My question is this. Is now a better time to protect the middle class by promoting initiative, and building consensus by those ideas from the bottom up instead of from the top down?