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American Politics: Over Promise Then Under Deliver

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I spent 27 years in sales and marketing and during that time I participated in many new product launches. Bringing a new product to market can be very exciting, challenging and difficult. The greatest difficulty is often that senior management has already stamped their approval, so any failures must be due to execution and effort. As a veteran of these launches, I can give you the sure fire formula for failure: over promise, then under deliver.


Over promise and then under deliver; the basic building block of how our politicians get elected. Candidates who run for office give speeches, write platforms, make promises and have debates with other candidates about who is best suited to make decisions for us. They promise to implement everything popular and throw out everything unpopular. Opinion polls constantly measure the preferences of potential voters and their messages are tailored to get these votes. Promise what you need to get elected and count on the public's short memory once you do.


Let's pretend that this newly elected official really does want to deliver on promises more than the care about the next election. I personally believe this to be unlikely, but shame on me for skepticism. This official, whether it is the Mayor, Governor, Congressperson, Senator or President (any and all elected officials) are immediately confronted with the established way of doing things. Party lines become clear. You had better not rock the boat. Be a team player and do what you are told. If Mr. Smith came to Washington today, he would be eaten!


Most candidates know they will not keep all the promises made during a campaign. They consciously over promised knowing they would under deliver, but they also know they have no choice. It is what the public demands. Unfortunately, they seem to be right on this account. The public is hungry for promises. The public is hungry for someone to give them something they feel they need. The public is hungry for instant gratification. The public craves easy way outs.


Why do we citizens continually place our bets on promises rather than character?  We allow our politicians to treat us like children. We gladly give them responsibility to fix all these messes because we don't want to fix it our self. If they fail, we can skin them alive and elect someone else. We need to scrutinize this process and ask our self a critical question: Is it working?


As I write this, our nation and the world, is in an even bigger mess than usual. The global financial crisis is getting most of the attention. As much as I dislike leaving out man's assault on the Earth and its resources, let's focus on financial matters. Make a pledge with me. The next time a person tells you that the market economy is all cyclic and that it is inevitable that stocks will go up and rise to even higher gains, smack them in the face. Not hard, but enough to get their attention. The world has become a very different place and what has happened in the past can no longer be a reliable predictor of the future.


Economists now realize how interconnected the global economy has become. Failure to recognize this was a large part of the collapse. We need to pay heed to this interconnection and all its intricate complications. It is not just the economies that are interconnected; it is Nature and every living thing. As quantum physics explains; interconnection is Reality and our inability to sense Reality creates all these problems.


We need to take control of our future and not leave it to politicians. There is a simple first step. Let's stop judging and competing with each other and start lifting each other up with kindness and compassion. Even if we cannot sense this interconnection lets understand that it is there and try to start feeling this connection between us. There is so much undiscovered power in this unity if we can connect our dots. There is a point in each of hearts. If we connect them we create a unified web and a synergy that knows no bounds and has no limitations. If we learn to share and care we will preserve our Earth's bounty and discover there is more than enough to go around. 

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Pete Latona enjoyed a lengthy sales management career with AT&T and retired in 2006 to form his own consulting business. He currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife Nancy.
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