Imagine this gruesome scenario and give it some serious thought.
You are seated at the front of a runaway train and the train is hurtling towards the edge of a cliff. The cliff has a drop of four hundred feet on to jagged rocks below and the driver is clueless how to stop the train. The driver shouts to those around him, "What shall I do I've got no idea? My brakes are not working, the train is gathering speed and the passengers are frantic with worry." One of those around him says, "I tell you what, tell the passengers not to panic everything is alright and under control. We are experiencing a slight problem of resource allocation but we will soon sort that out." Another person chimes in, "We are coming to the end of our shift so let the next driver sort this foolishness out. Let's hand over to him and then what ever goes wrong will be his fault and not ours." A third person pipes up, "Let us run around and be seen to be doing a lot of things. We know it is all pointless to stop the train crashing but at least we can show the world that we are action people and that will impress them."
And so the train rockets towards the precipice and disaster is virtually guaranteed.
But unexpectedly the new driver manages to jump on board the runaway train, makes his way to the cab and takes command of the situation. With no brakes he cannot slow the train and with the world watching he is going to be blamed for whatever happens. So he decides on a number of bold moves.
He informs all the passengers to stand on the left of the train and for all the luggage where possible to be piled on the left side. He commands the signalman to set the points at the next junction so that the train can turn off onto a disused rail line. It's risky, the old line has not been maintained and who knows what will happen. At any rate the speed is too great to allow the train to turn off, it would be more likely to topple over and still go over the precipice. The old driver and his team excoriates the new driver in such words as to say, "You do not know what you are doing, you are mad as a hare and you are going to kill us all."
And the train continues to rocket towards the precipice.
The new driver holds his nerves, the train hits the junction at enormous speed, tilts at a crazy angle and whizzes around the bend and on to the disused rail line. Some passengers are shaken, quite a few are stirred and no one is killed or badly injured but the train is still rocketing along at breakneck speed. The new driver sends someone to re-prime the brakes, he resettles the passengers and with consummate skill manages to negotiate the treacherous corners. The train now has regained some breaking ability but not for long enough to avert disaster and the driver has to determine when and where to use the limited braking at his disposal.
With superb skill and masterful timing the new driver has averted the imminent danger got the train headed in the right direction away from the precipice and the train is now beginning to accelerate towards complete safety. But the old driver and his consorts will have none of it. They are bellowing for the new driver and his team to be dismissed and for the train to be given back to them because the train is safe in their hands and they are the ones whom you can trust with your life.
Pause for a moment, stop imagining things and go back about four years and re-read the newspapers, check out the news bulletins and shudder at the headlines.
AMERICA ON THE BRINK
AMERICA NEARS THE PRECIPICE
DOOMSDAY APPROACHES FOR THE USA
USA ECONOMY FACING COLLAPSE
FROM BOOM TO BUST, AMERICA HITS THE BUFFERS
THE DOLLAR SINKS TO NEW LOWS
IS THIS AMERICA'S DUNKIRK
Today no such headline dominates the mass media. Instead we read of America's slow growth, America's unemployment rate falls, Wall Street's confidence returning, Manufacturing improves on orders, America's low interest rates, etc.
When people cast their vote in November for their choice of President, whatever the mass media thinks makes no difference, people will remember where the country was in 2008 and where it is now. This reflection will prompt in particular four vital, and in my view deterministic questions as follows:
Is the country better or worse off than it was in 2008?
Are people more safe or less safe than in 2008?
Is America more at peace with itself and the world since 2008?
Which candidate inspires hope, trust, compassion, and stability?
The answers to these questions are important and will determine who people vote for and not who won the debates or who has the best ads or such like. Americans have lots of stereotypes but something about Americans that is unfailingly sure, absolutely and eternally the case is that when push comes to shove American are thinkers.
When President Kennedy was advised by a majority of his advisers to go to war with the USSR he thought it through and averted a war by giving and taking through the diplomatic route even although his PR guys made him sell it to Americans as a total triumph which it was not.
When President Johnson was advised of the damage it could do to him and the democrats he nevertheless thought it through and successfully pushed for the Civil Rights Legislation because he knew it was the right thing to do.
When President Obama decided at great cost to himself politically that it was right to pass Healthcare Legislation, he did not hesitate to fight furiously for the 50 million or so uninsured because he thought it through and knew it was the right thing to do.
Governor Romney knew that he was going to lose the election except he changed the trajectory of the campaign and he decided to take a leaf out of the Old Playbook.
It is a given in the USA that America will never elect an angry black man. The tactic is therefore if you are running against a black man to make him angry, get his response on tape and show it repeatedly until nausea takes hold. In order to make the black man angry insult his mother, his children or his manhood and that will get him going. And if that does not work tell bald-faced lies about him, smear him with absurdities and when no one is looking, and you are near enough get physical. Do anything to make him angry and you are halfway towards victory.
John McCain knew about this anger thing and tried it on Obama again and again and Obama did not swallow that bait. The mass media was delirious that McCain had won all three debates but the American people gave Obama a resounding victory that November.
Now Governor Romney is having a go and the result will be the same.
Obama will not swallow the bait and give the mass media the pleasure to portray him as an angry black man and divert peoples' attention from the real issues that affect their lives. I guarantee you that Obama will bend over backwards to give Governor Romney every courtesy and show him enormous civility and politeness for which he is well known and if the mass media wants to depict that as weakness and feebleness then so be it.
America has a big decision to make and will do the right thing because inherent in their psyche is the notion that he who does the heavy-lifting should not be the one to go hungry when the refreshments are served.
America will re-elect President Obama in November not because they relish a rosy future with him at the helm leading them into much prosperity but because they fear a Romney presidency will take them back to the dark days of 2008. In America fear always trump optimism.
Mark my words!
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