Today is election day, and the insanely long and vitriolic race for the presidency will be over in just a few hours. As I prepare for a night of awaiting results, my mind is turning from thoughts of this specific election, to thoughts on the nature of governance itself. For instance, it is a guarantee that either candidate will fulfill their promises and plans after the election. This is not just a matter of whether they want to or not: they can’t. The realities of real life and system of government will simply not allow them to. This, is pretty much a given. What constantly blows me away is the amount of people who cannot grasp this.
For instance I voted Obama, as will most people with my political inclinations. The difference between me and most other libs that I talk to though is that I am not disappointed with Obama’s first term. It went pretty much how I thought it would. Better, in fact. Most people however, were disappointed. Among the reasons given are:
- We did’nt get single payer healthcare – You were never getting it. It wasn’t even on the table. It wasn’t even promised in the first campaign.
- The Economy did not return to the 90′s boom time – It’s not going to. The boom was a bubble that was unusual and not the norm. By 2008 the economy was so close to collapse that even Bush’s economists admit it would take years to stabalize, much less recover.
- The unemployment rate is still too high – As with the point above, there is only so much a president can do, especially when there is both unprecedented resistance to ANYTHING from across the aisle, and a steep learning curve for a new administration.
- Guantanamo didnt close. Nope. Because essentially lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were happy to pander to their constituency and act like Islamic terrorists are super-villians with powers far beyond those of our ordinary criminals.
- We are still in Afghanistan: Yeah, he pretty much promised that we would be re-focusing on it. We now have a time table to end it.
- We are flying drones illegally into Pakistan: Yeah, he pretty much said that would happen too. How do you think we found Bin Laden? Apart from that Pakistan is a nuclear power that is (partially because of our policies) coming unraveled. It is too late to just ignore them and leave them to their own devices.
- We still don’t have Gay marriage: Another thing that was never on the table. In fact he promised that it was NOT on his agenda in the first campaign and has now come around on it.
The list could go on and on, but it boils down to two things:
- Things that he never said he would do, but that liberals hoped he would do anyway.
- Things that just could not get passed or implemented.
Here is what I want you take away from this. Your Strategic Sorcery Election Day lesson:
The real task of Governing and Managing not about choosing between a good and bad options, but choosing between two bad options.
People that have run something in their lives tend to realize this easily. It is the same in business, in government, or in running a club. When you are, in Bush terms, “The Decider”, the choice is often not about something you want and something you don’t. Being able to deal with that, is part of what can make you successful in life. Clinging to an unattainable ideal because nothing else will do, tends to yield ineffectual complainers.
So, if you are preparing for management in a company, or to own your own business, or to seek elected office, keep an eye out for the following situations and prepare yourself to deal not only with the choice itself, but the blowback from others for your choice:
1. The Double Negative: Simply a choice between two different but almost equally bad outcomes.
2. Mortons Fork: A choice where the outcome will be the same, but occur for different reasons.
3. Hobsons Choice: A choice between a bad action or no action at all.
When you can accept that, even with magic, these possibilities are going to be part of your reality, you have taken a good step forward in Strategic Living.