The Bigger Story

An article-editorial in U.S. News & World Report (05.29) is titled “The Danger of Drift.” It suggests that if Mr Bush’s ratings remain in the tank, we will drift for the next three years—regardless of the outcome of mid-term elections. And we’ll be in deep doggy doo-doo as a result. Reasonable enough argument. And important when one considers Iran and the like.

But …

U.S. News & World Report resides in Washington D.C. And, like so many other media outlets, it seems as if it can’t see beyond the Beltway—or imagine that any of us “out there” make much of a difference. It’s as if we Vermonters wake up every morning, breathless to find out what they did in D.C. yesterday.

Let me be crystal clear: There is not a dollop of “red state, blue state” in this. There is a “them” vs “us”—the Congressmen and lobbyists and White House staffers and even D.C. hoteliers versus the “unsung” “other” approximately 299 million of us.

I lived for 30 years in Northern California, and I was back in glorious SF a week or so ago to do a seminar. Yup, immigration policy was on many lips—as you’d expect. Nonetheless, when one read the Chronicle and the San Jose Merc, one was but vaguely aware that D.C. existed.

Of course there were international news stories—Iraq, Iran, etc. But the gist was how “we” (that’s the way I feel, Vermonter or no these days) are gettin’ on with gettin’ on.

The essential point: How we (CA-ians et al. al. al.) do at gettin’ on is the primary determinant in whether we can afford guns & butter 20 years from now—when my stepkids are in their early 40s.

At Haaavaaaad I recently heard a “luminary” talk about the issues that confront us Americans. He listed perhaps 10—the last of which, a throwaway line from his tone of voice, was “preparing for a global economy.”

Yes. I damn well pray that nutter in North Korea doesn’t loose his weapons. Likewise, the terror of Tehran. But the safety of our mid-term and beyond future—security and economic might that underpins said security—depends a helluva lot more on what’s transpiring in Cambridge MA’s biotech labs* (and in business establishments in VT and CA and NY and KS and IA and GA) than at the Kennedy School or in the halls of Congress.

Believe it.

(*Hats off to Mike Bloomberg for his graduation address to Johns Hopkins medical school grads—he eschewed White House doctrine and begged us not to denigrate three hundred or so years of traditional scientific progress, citing everything from “intelligent design” to stem-cell research to Terry Schiavo. If my Bloomberg remark counts as “red state”-“blue state” … my apologies. But as I said, in case you didn’t “hear” me the first time—hats off to Republican Mayor Mike. FYI, if you wonder why he was down there declaiming, it’s because he is a grad and has given hundreds of millions of $$$$ to Hopkins med. Exerpt: “It boggles the mind that two centuries after Darwin, and 80 years after John Scopes was put on trial, this country is still debating the validity of evolution. … This not only devalues science, it cheapens theology. As well as condemning these students to an inferior education, it ultimately hurts their opportunities.”)

Tom Peters posted this on May 29, 2006, in News.
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