The US brand. What is the United States of America?

The US brand is under siege. Is anyone else worried about the future of the US?

The US BrandI don’t mean in terms of which candidate you support in the upcoming election. There are sane people on both sides of that debate. I’m talking about the very fabric of what it means to be a citizen of the US brand. An American.

At our root, we claim to be a nation bound by a Constitution that dictates our civil behavior. Since the election of Washington until Lincoln, every election has been followed by a peaceful transition of power. It is what it means to be an American.

The one time that process failed was in 1860 and it resulted in a bloody war that ended in the complete defeat of those that opposed union. The debate for peaceful transition had been decided once and for all with an anything but peaceful five years of blood soaked division. I believe, despite all of the posturing today, that this election will also be a peaceful transition of power from the incumbent to the newly elected leadership.

The US brand has been under siege in the past

I don’t think I am alone in looking back upon the last decade with a bit of distain. Our national genius for compromise has been replaced by vitriol and obstruction. When FDR was first elected, humorist Will Rogers said, “Well, if he gets to the White House and it catches fire and burns to the ground, we will say at least he got something started.” Just like Will, I have become weary of partisan posturing and I want to get SOMETHING done.

The US BrandMy worry is not over the election itself, although the personal attacks are hard to hear. After all, one of these two candidates will be our next President. In many ways, I would love to hear what each candidate will do to help our country if they lose. My sincere hope is that either candidate will try their best when elected. That is the minimum I think we can expect. The rest is just politics.

What REALLY worries me about the US brand? A fear that, as a nation, we might be ungovernable in the future. A large percentage of those that are voting say they do not trust the information published from our government. They do not trust what they read in the news and they do not trust our elective process. I then wonder how they plan on making America Great Again or becoming Stronger Together?The US brand

If you don’t read the news, where are you getting your information? If you don’t believe anything the government says or publishes and don’t believe in the right of the majority to rule— well you don’t believe in our Constitution.

I can’t wait to read comments on this post. In the past, my worst fears have been realized in those comments. Aggressive and hateful bloggers post comments that prove my point. They did not read what I had to say.

Until we address the basic problem, which is IGNORANCE, we have a broken system with broken constituents. Just remember that the root of the word ignorant means to IGNORE.

Vice Presidential Candidates Debate

kainepenceI thought about writing something after tonight’s Vice Presidential Candidates Debate, but any reaction would essentially be the same.

The debate results (however in the hell they are calculated) don’t matter in the first place. In the second place, the Vice Presidential candidates don’t matter at all. Not a jot.

What’s funny to me is, regardless of your political affiliations and or your preference for President, the Presidential debates are the only interesting ones because we get a chance to watch Donald Trump.

Depending on your political bent, it is to see him either really stick it to Hillary or ramble on almost incoherently. Funny how both sides seem quite pleased with the results.

The vice presidential Candidates DebateThe Vice Presidential Candidates Debate doesn’t matter in an average election year. The main event is in the main ring of the political circus (a very apt description by the way of what we are all quite weary of today).

This year the Presidential debate is the only ring. We are all skipping the sideshows to see the freak show.

The Outcome of the Vice Presidential Candidates Debate

So I write this blog without the least bit of interest in the outcome. I don’t care which political candidate scores the most points or counters with the most effective counterpunch. Who cares which of the Vice Presidential candidates looks more like acceptable Presidential material than the Presidential candidates themselves. I just don’t care at all.

So tomorrow, you can expect both Presidential candidates to congratulate their running mates on a great debate performance. (Love the word performance for all of these debates. It tells you how real it is). They will each pronounce the VP debate as a win and use it as a springboard to get back to their Vice Presidential Candidates Debatecampaign messages of a better America.

By the way, is it just me or can you ever remember a campaign where the candidate’s appearance was more of an issue? I don’t mean their ability to appear at events. I’m talking about how they physically look.

I hope that this is a passing fad but somehow I doubt it is. It seems to replace knowledge and consideration and allows voters to simplify the candidates based upon personal attacks.

Think about this. Would Lincoln ever have gotten elected in this climate?

The Vice Presidential Candidates debate is a trumped-up (no pun intended) media event of no consequence. There is almost nothing either party can do to fix the bored-to-tears tedium of the VP debates. Well maybe one thing. Maybe they could have enlisted Pee Wee Herman to moderate them?

Politically ignorant generation of sheep

Are we the generation of the politically ignorant?

politically ignorantThe word ignorant gets its root from the word ignore. Someone who is ignorant is someone who ignores. Because we ignore, we are politically ignorant.

I worry about the future of my government because I live with generations of the ignorant. We have almost no sources of news today other than the slimy slanted broadcast news stations and broadcast news centers.

Things have changed and not all change is progress.

When I was a young person, the TV networks took news seriously. The vision of Walter Annenberg attempted to present the top news stories of the day in 30-minute segments every evening.

Some even adopted 60-minute formats and news anchors tried to present the facts. Editorial content was reserved for a few small moments every few weeks when the station’s editorial staff expressly present an opinion piece.

Politically ignorant was not Walter CronkiteThere were inherent reasons why this format worked. Americans, by and large, received or purchased a daily newspaper. These papers subscribed to international bureaus like the AP or UPI and the larger papers had reporters stationed all over the globe, collecting, dissecting and evaluating the validity of the world’s happenings.

The broadcast news bureaus were not designated as profit centers. They were part of the station’s charter to serve the public interest. No one confused or polluted the broadcasts or segments as entertainment. Few were politically ignorant.

When CBS, NBC, and ABC covered the political conventions, the news anchor (like Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley) watched the event and acted as a master of ceremony diverting the live cameras to the stories taking place on the convention floor.

Everyday beat reporters, like the soon to become famous Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, asked hard hitting questions of Mayor Daley or Everett Dirkson.

What do we have today?

Drivel. Politically ignorant drivel.

Panels of talking heads replay scripted spin. The conventions themselves lack the drama of even the Academy Awards. The reason? All the outcomes and decisions are known before the convention itself. The result is ignorance.

Politically ignorantWho needs to make a considered decision when you can tune into any specific political broadcast and see and hear only from proselytizers and pundits that already agree with your pre-determined decisions?

How many Americans believe that Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and Bill O’Reilly are newsmen?

This lack of discourse makes ignorance comfortable and worse still acceptable. How many of you have heard of the Pulitzer Prize-winning web site called Politifact? It is a web site dedicated to political fact checking. It looks for misinformation on both sides of the aisle.

Today, if you are unhappy with the way government is working (or not working), I say that we get the government we deserve. And we deserve the government we get.

the results of being politically ignorantI am NOT outraged over Donald Trump’s political comments concerning Russians and emails. I AM outraged that his supporters are not providing any political incentives or consequences to stop this unfiltered crap.

Political benefits at what cost? Diplomacy works only through back doors not through bullying tactics. As a nation, we pretend to abhor bulling in our schools but we seem to have no problem rewarding it in the important geopolitical arena.

So what is the end result of political thought that is unchallenged and ignored? History tells us the unbelievable and the inconceivable happens when rational objection and forethought goes out the window.

When it is suggested that we could make ourselves safer and preserve our culture… the silent majority nods in agreement. Let’s put the Jews in camps.

Brexit succession means nobody wins

The unthinkable happened with Brexit

Brexit is racismBrexit was a bloodless civil war. We have come along way (or have we?). Time was an obscure Archduke could be assassinated in Bosnia and the whole world would be dragged into a global war later called the First World War in history books.

In 1861, the United States of America began a bloody struggle to decide the legality of succession. We called that fight the Civil War and it took four blood soaked years and millions of lives to settle. In the end, the decision was made that no state was sovereign enough to resign its place in the United States.

Shelby Foote famously said that, before the Civil War, people said the United States “Is” and after the Civil War they said The United States “Are”.

Yesterday, the United Kingdom VOTED to leave the European Union. In our Twitter world, the vote was shortened to Brexit. It is an example of how blind nationalism can cloud judgment and how people will emotionally vote for things that in the long term are not in their own best interest. I wonder if Scotland wishes it had another shot at their historic vote to remain in the United Kingdom? Scotexit never became a word.

Brexit means?

Brexit winsI think a great deal of world stability will be shaken by this vote. I can see further troubles stirring in Northern Ireland again. I believe the uncertainty in the world’s monetary systems will shake rattle and roll the financial markets for a while as the global community tries to discount this tsunami of change. Everything we have come to rely on in this global world has been challenged.

But the reason I write this is because NO ONE doubts the RIGHT of the UK to secede (not to be confused in any way with succeed).

In the US, we thought the illegality of succession was decided and written in blood 150 years ago. Americans believe we have a corner on the market when it comes to freedom and liberty. We are wrong.

Freedom of self-determination was just exercised in Europe to an extent we can’t even fathom in the US. Had this RIGHT been self evident, I would be penning this blog in the Confederate States of America because I live in North Carolina—a state that lost 1 out of every 4 casualties at Gettysburg  during the Civil War.

To me, it does not matter if you think the American Civil War was fought over state’s rights or slavery. The impetus for the temporary dissolution of the United States in the late 1800’s was due to a racist issue.

I think the same is true for Brexit.

Racist underpinnings

I don’t believe it was so much an economic issue as it was over a war on immigration. The UK did not want Europe dictating immigration policy. They just don’t want THEM settling in the UK any more.  Think about it, the UK never surrendered their currency to the Euro. The Pound  Sterling remained.

BrexitSo much for economics driving succession.

I find Brexit a sad move. Not for all the obvious reason of a common market and ease of travel. I find it sad that bigotry wins anywhere and under any circumstances.

You can have your DNA tested for just a couple of dollars (or Euros or pounds) these days. It points to your REAL ancestry.

Funny, the differences are very small. We all began in Africa and are very much the same. Only the adopted and insignificant drapery of religious preference and favorite cuisine separates us all one from another.

Are opinions changing on gun control laws?

The most powerful brands are the ones that align themselves with the belief systems of those they are trying to persuade. We tell clients that to go against a belief is often a fool’s errand and can only be overcome by throwing tons of money at the problem.

Or, a belief can be changed by a cataclysmic event.

I wonder if that’s what happened in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre when Sen. Chris Murphy filibustered for 14 hours last night and won promises from Republicans to look at tightening gun control laws.

gun control
Gun control laws are being given a closer look.

Filibusters are often showboating affairs (excusing Jimmy Stewart, of course) as politicians like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have proven in the past. They talked for hours, even reading Dr. Seuss, but nothing was actually accomplished by them.

Could recent events have changed the views of some on gun control?

But has the Orlando massacre changed the belief systems of those previously opposed to tightening gun control laws? It might have.

Even Republican senator Pat Toomey supported Murphy in his efforts as public opinion has shifted enough in the aftermath of shootings (and other shootings) to limit the ability of those on terror watch lists to buy assault weapons.

It seems logical enough. Those suspected of being terrorists, who are currently not allowed to fly in the US, should not be allowed to buy assault rifles that are built to kill people.

But the NRA is an extremely powerful lobbying group that can put the squeeze on just about any politician, Republican or Democrat. It has stated that it agrees that terrorists should not have guns, but added that those wrongly accused of being terrorists would have their rights damaged.

The response, including from some Republicans, is to put safeguards in place to protect those wrongly accused, but to go forward with a proposal – and a vote – to limit the ability of suspected terrorists to buy, for example, a Sig Sauer MCX or an AR-15.

gun control
What was used in Orlando.

There is still a long ways to go on gun control laws. Congress is a difficult, slow-moving beast. But real change happens when movements are aligned with belief systems – or, as in this case, those belief systems are shaken to the core by an event impossible to ignore.

Let’s hope.