I got this from an email my son sent me today. Nothing is sexier than an intelligent, articulate man!

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes? He's now 82 years old and has a new book, 'Where Have All The Leaders Gone?'. Lee Iacocca Says: 'Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car.

But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.' Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned 'Titanic'. I'll give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the bums out!' You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.
The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of the 'America' my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about
I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have. The Biggest 'C' is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C's of leadership, with crisis being the first.) Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here's where we stand. We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.
We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.
Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership. But when you look around, you've got to ask: 'Where have all the leaders gone?' Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be
a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point. Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?

We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened. Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the
hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm. Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again.
Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when 'The Big Three' referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry. I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity.

What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change? Had Enough? Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope - I believe in America. In my lifetime, I've had the privilege of living through some of America 's greatest moments. I've also experienced some of our worst crises: The 'Great Depression,' 'World War II,' the 'Korean War,' the 'Kennedy Assassination,' the 'Vietnam War,' the 1970's oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.

If I've learned one thing, it's this: 'You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we allhave a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a "Call to Action" for people who, like me, believe in America'. It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had 'enough.' Make your own contribution by sending this to everyone you know and care about. It's our country, folks, and it's our future. Our future is at stake!!

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As a young person I can only relate to these feelings of being betrayed on an intellectual level. The only Presidents that I have in my living memory have either had sex with Monica Lewinsky (well it wasn't really sex) or are mentally retarded (Bushies).

This culture of mediocrity and defeatism are all I have ever known and I don't mean to try and outdo you with the gloomyness but I don't think that my generation can be relied upon to fix this. To me, the blame lies with we the people. Decades of dominance and privilage have produced a generation of pampered arrogant children who can not envision a world in which America is not a super power. Perhaps things aren't as bad as they appear and Lee Iacocca is simply an old man suffering from future shock.

Personally, I'd like to believe that the human race isn't doomed to destroy its self through environmental devestation and greed and that deep down, people want to feel in control of their lives. My generation has a great deal of faith in Barack Obama, but it is going to take a lot more than one moderate democrat (with a proposed budget that would make Bush uncomfortable) to set this country back on the right track.

Sorry about the pessimism.
Don't apologize, I understand how you feel. I have two sons who are 26 & 28, and they've followed world events growing up, because I did. I hope that the young of this generation have the heart, and the strength of their convictions, to change what our generation has allowed to happen to this world.

You're right about the apathy and laziness in today's youth, but part of that is the blame of the adults who raised them. Giving them "things" instead of time, attention & love. My generation wanted their children to have everything we didn't have. But the mistake in that thinking is that the parents spent too much energy and time working to buy those "things", instead of spending time with their kids!

It sure didn't help that our government cut funding to the poor and turned the mentally out on the streets, all to spend ridiculous amounts on stupid things. We're going to leave you all with a tremendous deficit, an unstable environment, and a smaller work force. I'm sorry . . . you have nothing to apologize for.

I've tried to do what's right for my children and this country my entire adult life. My sons are hardworking, family-oriented men. Let's hope that there are many more like you all, to help put things right again.

PS Lee Ioccaca pretty much sums up the reality of what's happened over my lifetime. l can only hope that this generation does much better. By the way, the quote below, from your post, is my belief too.

"Personally, I'd like to believe that the human race isn't doomed to destroy itself through environmental devastation and greed and that deep down, people want to feel in control of their lives".
Do you feel that the world would be better off if the United States was no longer a military superpower? I think a dose of humility would do our culture good. I think the reason that so many people are willing to accept so much injustice is that they can take solace in the fact that even if life sucks for them as individuals, at least they get the exquisite privilage of being part of the greatest country and culture in human history (so goes the rhetoric).

A return to democratic values in the U.S. is still possible, but it is going to take some radically different circumstances to make equality and respect part of our national spirit again. My amatuer analysis concludes that the future lies with international organizations and not nation-states being the primary means of political organization. I think that the European Union has set up a good example for other regions to follow and I hope that we can get over our nationalism to do so. This does not mean that American culture will be depreciated in anyway, it simply means that we will be held accountable for our actions.
I totally agree with your analysis of what's wrong with this country. We think that just because we have the largest build-up of weaponry in the world, that we are somehow better than everyone else. Bush was so arrogant, (and ignorant), over the last 8 years that most of the world has lost all respect for America. We sure proved how stupid more than half of our population is when he got elected to a 2nd term. I'm still bitter and angry over that, he is by far the worst president we've EVER had. I lost faith in this country right after Bush stole the 1st term.

The only way we will ever survive long enough to travel out of this solar system, is if all nations unite and we function as one planet. That means no more war, no more destruction of our planetary environment and no more secrets among scientists who currently won't share their research with other countries. We desparately need to start seeing every race as part of the same world, and end the ignorance of racism. More education is part of the answer, mandatory voting would be good too, I think. Americans take that right too lightly.

Just think of what we, as one world, could accomplish if we spent all of the military budgets on medical & scientific research, free college education for everyone and space travel! Maybe I'm just a dreamer who has read too much science fiction, but this would be my wish for the future of the human race.
I guess the only question that remains is, what is to be done?
I wish I had an answer for you. Unfortunately, as I've gotten older I've become pretty cynical about our government's willingness, or ability to change. For starters, people need to better inform themselves about the politicans they elect. Second, I think EVERYONE should avail themselves of their constitutional right to vote. Third, we need more grass-roots activism to motivate people to act on the issues that concern them. I'm tired of people who don't vote because they think their vote won't change anything. That's a lame excuse for being apathetic, or just plain lazy. Pushing volunteerism as a public duty might help teach those who are lazy or spoiled, into seeing the REAL world around them. Americans have become a joke to the rest of the world and that really bums this old lady out.

I'm so relieved to know there are thoughtful, intelligent young people like you out there though. It gives me hope that our children will be smarter than their parents' generation has been. Talking with you makes me smile :)
Susan, I also do need to tell you that your so called "democratic system" isn't very democratic either; you practically only got two major parties to vote for and even if 2/3 of your population will vote on an independent party it doesn't matter because the state votes will still either pick Democrat or Republican. Isn't this very sad and a poor excuse of a democracy? Why should your states at all need to be assigned to a specific political party to begin with? Why should it matter what the majority of the population votes on in a certain state? Of course it shouldn't but yet it does, I think if you want to see a major change you need to work on that first of all. However, I guess that fight won't be easy since there are so many rich uppersitters in both the Republic and Democrat party. Yet, I still think the best politicians are to be found far outside any Democratic or Republican realms.
About America not being democratic...it does seem that way recently, doesn't it?
Really, though, the arrangement of the system must be understood from a historic perspective.

The Federalists (original advocates of the Constitution) were more authoritarian than the Democratic-Republicans in that they did not think the common people could govern effectively by themselves without the help of a capable "elite."
Just as the Constitution seeks to limit abuses by government, it also strives to prevent abuses of government by an uninformed citizenry. Therefore, not all components of government ought to be directly influenced by the people. The judicial branch, as well as some parts of the executive, follows this rule.

It's called the electoral college.
The Founding Fathers of the U.S. had doubts about whether the masses had the ability to think independently (this was, of course, the time before education became widely available), so as a check against mob rule, the president is elected indirectly. The popular vote expresses the sentiments of the people. The electors (delegates) are expected to pledge their votes based on the popular results, as long as the people's choices are reasonable.

Remember, the U.S. Constitution was written before the rise of the political parties. The Founding Fathers sincerely frowned upon partisanship at high levels of government, and they didn't predict that such a drastic development would occur.

Whether or not the system needs major revisions for the 21st century is a difficult matter to answer. However, popular voting doesn't solve much if the citizens remain uninformed or if the politicians don't clean up their acts as they promise.

"Why should your states at all need to be assigned to a specific political party to begin with?"
The electoral map merely functions as a rough guide to the political leanings of each geographic region. In actuality, as I'm sure you know, how the electoral votes are divided varies from state to state. Some choose to do it by the proportion of the popular vote; others choose a "winner takes all" approach.

"Yet, I still think the best politicians are to be found far outside any Democratic or Republican realms."
It's hard to tell. As much sympathy as I have for some of Nadir's ideas, I can't really say if an independent administration would be better - mainly because the U.S. hasn't had one yet. It could be just as bad. Generally, politicians seem to have the same basic set of flaws regardless of political party.
The problem of US politics is not easy to fix. If only the Founding Fathers were clairvoyant.

I can't think of any way to clean up the politicians but it seems to me that a good many of the problems of the voting system (such as ignorance and failure to vote) would be fixed if voting were a privilige which had to be earned.

The requirements should be something like attaining a certain age and/or demonstrating a certain level of wisdom, completing a certain minimum standard of education and passing a civic competency test which required the intending voter to show understanding of the process of government. The final test should demonstarte that the intending voter was aware of and understood the policies of every candidate in the election they wish to participate in as a voter. With the increasing level of computerization of voting this test could be administered to every voter prior to them casting their vote at each and every election.

If voters had to show knowledge and understanding of every political policy then politicians might have to raise their game also.

Just thoughts. I am sure fixing things would be a lot more complicated than this.
Rosemary Lyndall Wemm wrote on January18 I can't think of any way to clean up the politicians but it seems to me that a good many of the problems of the voting system (such as ignorance and failure to vote) would be fixed if voting were a privilige which had to be earned…. If voters had to show knowledge and understanding of every political policy then politicians might have to raise their game also.

And who decides what policies are important? The issues that the Republicans and Democrats want to talk about are those few that distinguish them from each other. But both parties are committed to the market economy, and they won’t talk about challenges to that. Even in the present crisis, when the market has failed, and provided abundant evidence that it must fail in the long run, neither party will consider alternatives. They want to frame the discussion only in terms of different plans to get back to where we were.

For Progressive Minnesota, the big issue for several years has been instant run-off voting. But that would promote the rise of new parties, so Republicans and Democrats are united against it.

I don’t think that voter turn-out is really an issue. A lot of stay-at-homes, especially among the young, have concluded – I think correctly – that Republicans and Democrats do not present any choice, since in the issues that are really important to peoples’ lives, there is no difference between them. They do not vote, not out of ignorance or indifference, but because it is the only way to vote “NO!”

At the present stage of political development in the US, voting or not is of little significance. The important political work to be done is to build new political parties that can oust Republicans and Democrats from government.
Someone should explain to these young people that not voting is emphatically not the equivalent of voting NO. It is equivalent to casting a vote for whichever party is in office.

It is a great pity that kids of voting age have not been provided with a good education in mathematics and statistical analysis.
A.Ou wrote on January 18 In actuality, as I'm sure you know, how the electoral votes are divided varies from state to state. Some choose to do it by the proportion of the popular vote; others choose a "winner takes all" approach.

What? What states are not "winner-take-all?"




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