On The Other Hand
For many years, our company represented a large respected manufacturer, the largest in the industry at the time, and they were headquartered in Pennsylvania Amish country. Every December, they would have a major sales convention and most years they were at their corporate offices. Sometimes they were in places like Marco Island or Boca Raton, but they had great Broadway type presentations with singers and dancers and large stage sets. They would have a theme and the one I remember most was Aquarius from Hair. It was a memorable presentation, to say the least. Only the 5th Dimension could have done better. The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
At the end of each of the shows and events, the company economist, we’ll call him Al, would come on stage with his prognostications for the economy and how that might impact our business the following year. His presentations were always interesting and reasonably correct, I suppose, but as with many experts today, he always left some wiggle room. That is to say, he left it so that he could always say that he had warned of this or that that could have an effect on his predictions. Something like, “If the rapture takes place in February we may have fewer shoppers in the stores and my predictions could fall short.” Some would call that today, CYA. If you don’t know what that means, just Google it!
He explained all this on one occasion by saying that it was very difficult for anyone with only one arm to be an economist. He reasoned that after making any predictions, it was rather customary for the predictor to say something like, “But, on the other hand”, while offering a gesture with one hand and a slight nod of the head or shrug of the shoulder that signified the CYA was in effect.
I never knew that people had that option as a small kid. I just thought if someone said the sky was falling, you had better have on a hard hat or dive under something because it was coming down! No hedging of bets or CYA. Just tell it like it was. The truth is the truth and the truth, after all, will set us free. The truth today has to be coated in political correctness. We like the Lake Wobegon ideal: a place where “All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average”. In fact, we want a society where no one is average, no one is below average, and in fact average is just another term for superior. But to be superior, as a comparative word, there has to be something inferior, doesn’t it? Chick Fil A used to sell slaw in medium and large only. I never could figure out how you could have a medium and not have a small. On the other hand, they did stop selling slaw. Maybe it was just too confusing.
I don’t watch as much cable news as I use to. Nor do I take everything I read on the internet as being true. But I do click over to Fox or CNN for a quick fix for a few minutes during the day.
The other morning they had about 4 experts explaining every possible suggestion as to what might have caused the Egyptian air liner to crash in the ocean. One was a pilot, another a former Homeland Security person, and I don’t remember the credentials of the other two. But by the time they were through, every possible reason that plane could have crashed has been covered. And, would you believe it, there was not one of the other hand statements made. As I watched the experts it dawned on me that I could have speculated and come up with most of the same possibilities. No, I don’t have any credentials on the subject but I certainly have an opinion and I have watched enough of these interviews that I could have sounded very authoritative.
On the other hand, none of it matters. By the time the real cause is ever determined, we will have all forgotten about it anyway.
I have figured out that each of the TV networks wants a certain minimum of possibilities on these situations put forth on their shows so that if, and when, the actual reason can be determined they can point out that expert Number 17 had that on his/her list and, by golly, they had nailed another accurate guess. And, on the other hand, if they don’t get any of them right they will still all have their jobs tomorrow and will all get together again when the next plane goes down and repeat the process. They could just replay the tape from the last one with the same result.
In the presidential race, I don’t believe anyone has been right yet in all their predictions about Donald Trump’s chances. And, yes, that includes me. In my case, I am not being paid a dime to be right. Unlike many at Fox, CNN, NBC, etc. who are raking in millions and don’t have to ever be right only have good ratings and make good money for the company on ad sales. I saw today where Rachel Maddow makes $7 Million a year while talking about the money gap between the poor and the money hungry tyrants. But, on the other hand, I never watch her either.
In politics, we get what we deserve, many times. In today’s election a sheriff that shot his girlfriend in a sales office “accidently” gets overwhelmingly reelected. Who knows what will be next with that guy?
Today, we hear that after all the discussions, Mrs. Clinton ran afoul of policy and procedures at the State Department. Now, how about that revelation? The disciple of Bill Ayers and the wife of Philandering Bill Clinton and the mother in law of Wall Street Shysters (Derivative Brokers) and someone who accepts millions from Wall Street and foreign governments is possibly dishonest? But, on the other hand, she has not been known for her truthfulness only her ruthfulness.
In the end, we will end up at the same place 10 years down the road. The US will be country of greater dissent, less leadership and respect in the world, and with fewer people supporting more people and expecting the government to ignore lawless behavior among its members and choking on political correctness. Helping failed societies to set up shop here and encouraging them to practice their failed lifestyles, their failed religions and their failed economies in the name of liberal or progressive ideas and allowing a very few elitists to run things from their gated and guarded mansions.
When we look at places in the Middle East, where would you want to go and live? Dubai is mentioned and the Arab Emirates but most places don’t seem to be doing well with their 2000 year old un-civilizations. People like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are great tourist attractions but there does not seem to be a wall needed to keep US citizens from slipping into Mexico.
On the other hand, maybe there will be a place in the future that Americans can escape to that offers the values that once made America great. Values that were once held dear by the simple people of Sandy Point and Des Moines and Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Where integrity was high and expectations of freedom were too but there was less sense of entitlement and more about the John Kennedy speech on Ask Not What.
I hear about how great socialism is but I see few rushing off to them. France borders on bankruptcy, Greece is held together with bailing wire, Great Britain seems headed more in that direction with its unemployment and all of the major Middle Eastern Countries not supported by the US will continue down the road of internal self-destruction, and zero human rights. It appears that only the country ruled by a ruthless dictator can survive the diversity in those locations. The small countries that are held up as great examples are not welcoming people with open arms and the other Major powers of the world are closed societies to a large degree. China, India, Russia to name three.
In an age when no news people, no politicians, no weather people, and no one in particular has to be right and can still get paid and have no accountability why should kids get grades in school and be burdened with C’s and D’s and F’s? We want common core now and can’t figure out for the life of us why places like India can have such outstanding students coming over and filling our tech jobs.
But, on the other hand, maybe those jobs are jobs we don’t want anymore. Americans decided not to pick peas and butterbeans anymore. Too hard and demeaning. Don’t lay brick anymore. Don’t drive nails anymore, pour concrete or put on roofing. We turned our back on these jobs and foreign workers started coming and doing them. And we want all our info in 140 characters or less! Hey! Maybe we can outsource all jobs to India and other foreign countries, collect enough tax from them and give us all a check for doing nothing!
On the other hand: well, always keep your options open. And your bags packed!