At a young age, in 1980 I fell in love with my country, our ideals and my leader. When you are a kid it’s easy to be impressed by those around you. At that time, Ronald Reagan embodied what America stood for: capitalism, democracy, and freedom. He had an amazing ability to connect with people and brought unity, through respect, at home and abroad. I remembered the day he died and how I felt like a part of my childhood went with his passing.
Thirty three years later it’s hard to say I love what I see. Oh, I still love American ideals. I was blessed with a college education, the freedom to think, to enterprise and to make a difference. My parents raised us to work hard and create lives better than theirs. Now that I’m a mom I want the same and more for Ally, her friends and their generation.
However, somewhere along the way, like many of us, I became disenfranchised by our government. As Goose’ and Maverick sang in Top Gun,“I lost that loving feeling.”
At the turn of the century, I began traveling and working abroad. My mind became immediately immersed in a larger view...the global one. We are living in unprecedented times...a real revolution that’s driven a connected, viral, borderless, intrusive, distracted, and complicated, yet fascinating new world. Everything has changed. The problem is the system that built all of this no longer works.
To complicate this plight, our leaders have become middle managers or what I call the "clay layer"... They are pork and paper pushers who create more problems than solutions and get paid to play politics on the backs of all citizens, regardless of party and tax bracket.
It’s easy to say we need to balance the budget, eliminate debt, and all the stuff in between, however those are downstream outcomes from the real issues. The root of our problems are in systems, processes, people, and mindsets.
Five things I’d do to change America ...
- Eliminate the electoral college and parties all together. It worked 200+ years ago but it doesn’t work today. United we stand, divided we fall. There is more infighting in the parties than there is unity. In grade school when I ran for election, we counted votes, not seats. Perhaps it’s time for something as elementary as that to replace the complicated system we have.
- Restructure the whole thing. Turn it upside down, and quickly. Companies reorganize businesses to align them to changing market conditions. This is how they make money, grow value and drive the investor’s bottom line. It’s time to look at the bigger picture, look longer term, drive integration and unity across all levels of government, get fit, and deliver exceptional results. Wield our simple stick and get very focused. America needs to be in the business of answering to its #1 shareholder: it’s citizens. It’s time WE, THE PEOPLE take it back and OWN it!
- Reestablish the institution of servant leadership and measure it. It’s time to not only change the system, but to weed out the dead weight, do-nothing check and vote-collectors who talk a lot but haven’t delivered. And then, we need to think about what real measures can we put in place to gauge service and progress.
- Leverage the most untapped resource we have: oil and gas to stimulate our economy for the short and long-term. Energy is the
single most important commodity we all need. Exploiting it puts us in a favorable position to lead in developing our own people, driving innovation, supplying foreign customers and frees us from uncertain geo-political chess abroad. The risk is there, yes, but the size of the prize is as big as the
industrial and information ages combined. The chance to involve our kids in a promising future is here. We just have to take it!
- Elect enduring leaders who will invest in our citizens, our teachers and transform education. Long term sustainable growth and profitability is about building opportunity bridges through education while restoring and redefining what the new American Dream is for the generations to come. It’s about a relentless focus on America and the "right" social agenda is going to provide us opportunity and prosperity for the longer term.
This isn’t a 5K sprint. It’s not a half marathon or even a full marathon. This is an ultra-marathon. It’s going to be ugly and we will have to make very difficult and unpopular choices. However, we deserve a better America...one built on the ideals of our forefathers with systems, processes and transformational leaders suitable for our time.
So, Congress and the President won’t get my thanks or any pat on the back for the 11th hour dealmaking this week. I do thank the women in Congress who led a bipartisan effort to bring together our lawmakers. We believe we avoided a market response but all we’ve done is avoid the real issues. This is mediocrity at best.
Instead of turning the channel, letting the call go to voicemail or marking this very important topic for your spam folder, it’s time to pay attention and put this at the top of our agenda. Our kids are on the other end of the line. They deserve and depend on it.
It’s time to reclaim what was once a revered stock (Symbol: USA) and make it what we all know it can be: united and prosperous.
What would you do if you were President?