Thursday, March 11, 2010
Don't Quit -- Beat the Chronic Political Fatigue Syndrome
This is a great article by Jackie Cushman:
It's time to reach down and find the strength to do more. It's time to build a brick wall and hold off legislation that undermines the values of the American people and infuses our lives with government programs.
Don't ever say you can't -- say you can. Don't let them wear you down.
We can say no to programs we cannot fund. We can say let's fix what does not work before expanding programs that do not work.
Yes, we can.
Chronic Political Fatigue Syndrome -- it is spreading. City, county and state government budget issues are daily headlines, as is 24-hour coverage of health care "reform," financial regulation "reform," cap-and-trade policies, unemployment benefits, terrorism trials, ethics charges, resigning committee members, resigning congressmen, palace intrigue and so on.
If the goal is to try to do so many things and move so many stories forward that everyone is so confused and exhausted that they give up, the Democratic Party might be winning.
We cannot break.
"I urge every American who wants this reform to make their voice heard. ... I want you to stand with me and fight with me," said President Barack Obama during his speech Monday at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa. "And I ask you to help us get us over the finish line these next few weeks."
He wants to fight to get over the finish line.
Our goal is to hold the line. We have to try.
I saw the lesson of "Yes, we can" reinforced twice on Tuesday. The first time was during my 8-year-old son's karate class. "Don't say 'I can't,' say 'I'll try,'" the instructor said. The lesson was: If you don't believe, you cannot achieve. Belief leads to work; work leads to achievement.
The second time was when my 10-year-old daughter tried to convince me that she could not swallow a pill. She had convinced herself. After a showdown, where, not surprisingly, she did not swallow the pill, she went to her room. I was mad, and she knew it -- not about the pill, but about how she had let her belief determine the outcome.
A few minutes later, when we had both calmed down enough to chat, I told her failure was OK, but not trying was not.
It's important to do our very best.
In the 2006 movie "Facing the Giants," the Shiloh Eagles high school football team is practicing for their Friday night game against Westview. The team has just finished a 10-yard death crawl, where players crawl across the field on their hands and toes, no knees touching, carrying another player on their back. The Eagles have had several consecutive losing seasons and are plagued with self-doubt and lack of focus. When the defensive captain, Brock Kelley, notes that Westview is a lot stronger than his team, Coach Grant Taylor responds, "You already written Friday night down as a loss, Brock?"
"Well, not if I knew we could beat them," says Kelley. The gauntlet is thrown down. Kelly wants assurance before work; Taylor wants Kelly to understand that he limits his performance if he looks for guarantees. Taylor asks Kelley and another player, Jeremy, to step forward. Taylor asks Kelley to do the best he can in completing another death crawl carrying Jeremy. Kelley responds he will. Taylor blindfolds Kelley so he will not see how far he has to go, telling Kelley that the 50-yard line is his goal. As Kelley progresses, Taylor continues to encourage him, "Don't quit -- you keep going ... I know it hurts; keep going ... You keep going ... 20 more steps, 10 more steps."
Ten steps later, Kelley collapses. "I don't have any more," he says.
"You're in the end zone," says Taylor. "You just carried a 140-pound man across the field on your arms."
The message is clear: When you do the very best you can, and give it your all, you can do more than you might think.
My favorite line is when Jeremy corrects Taylor, "Coach, I weigh 160."
With everything we have going on in our daily lives -- grocery lists, bills to pay, clients to see, sales to make, laundry to do, children to pick up, feed and put to bed -- it is easy to get overwhelmed and distracted. I do every day.
But it's time to focus; time to put up a brick wall and prove that we are not too distracted to fight. Don't quit. Beat the Chronic Political Fatigue Syndrome.