Like many of my fellow US Citizens, I am very frustrated with the state of our "union." Never before can I remember a President and a Congress having (and deserving) such low confidence ratings.
Allow me to dip into the political realm for a moment not as a pundit, but as a strategist with an eye for personal and organizational development.
The US is unraveling from within. Political party polarization has made sport of our government. Red and Blue are more like team colors with fan bases than a thoughtful citizenry with a sacred duty and honor to vigorously debate the issues and cast our votes. The shrillness and empty talk on both sides have taken on an ugliness and unintelligible tone catering more to cheering crowds instead of elevating the electorate to be engaged in making a difference for the cause of freedom with responsibility. We've entered a season of win-lose politics where power takes precedence over purpose.
We're off-purpose. Let me tell you why.
Perhaps you're familiar with the term "mission drift." Think of it this way: if we send a rocket to the moon and chart a course, the margin for error is minute. A few hundredths of a degree away from the trajectory and the spacecraft misses its mark. Therefore, small adjustments are constantly made as course corrections throughout the flight.
The USA has become a country with uncorrected mission drift. We've gotten so far off the course, that we're needing major corrective actions, for example, the financial bail-out and legislative gridlock. This banking "Bail Mary" play reflects a flawed execution with roots dating back decades – massive uncorrected mission drift.
Journalism has long since passed away under the dirt of agendas, personal bias, and entertainment. Even the watchdog needs a watchdog. The need for course corrections go undetected and ignored. At times, going off course is encouraged.
When an organization – in this case a country – fails to make the proper course corrections the problems are amplified. People panic and begin to operate from fear. Rational thought gives way to a mob mentality. Sadly, our legislators on both sides of the aisle and in the Executive Branch appear to be making it up as they go along instead of sticking to the plan.
We are a divided house and everyone knows what happens next. But is this mission drift? No! For this to be mission drift, it would imply there is a common mission. We've lost that sense of common identity. We've lost the "sense of" but our common identity remains if we will remind ourselves of it.
In his Inaugural Address in 1961, President Kennedy spoke to the essence of our country in one of the most inspiring speeches of many generations. I've posted his entire speech on this blog. Allow me to remind you of his most famous of all lines:
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
Will either Senator McCain or Senator Obama remember Kennedy's call to service? Sadly, we've two candidates who to differing degrees and measure have each reversed Kennedy's ideal of what it means to be a citizen of this great country. Today, the selfish cry goes out from too many, "What can my country do for me? And don't ask me to do much in return."
Please Mr. Candidates, stop being legislators and start being leaders!
Hope is not lost! There is a rock solid purpose and plan to guide our course corrections and actions. So what is the plan? Look no further than the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. I invite you to invest 20 minutes to read these document before you vote. Get back to the purpose, plan, and intent of the founders. The course of our great nation can be righted provided we use the reference points and course set before us. We need to understand who we are, in order to know where to go. The USA can be an On-Purpose® country again.