Monday, January 19, 2009

Change Is Gonna Come

(Cartoon via McClatchy)

The nation changes leadership on Tuesday, and it makes me think of a job I once had where a new office manager arrived after some very troubled years had taken place. The outgoing manager was first in his class at bad management, often misrepresenting his stubborn ways as his 'principles', many of the inherent benefits of the job were just gone, and morale had been sucked down to a level so low as to be non-existent.

The new manager, while known to a few at the workplace, got an immediate lift among employees simply because he was new and the old one who had dragged everyone down was finally gone. Still, in the first six months to a year, this new manager also created many positive changes, often by simply seeing opportunities where the old manager was content to go on tirades about problems. He encouraged us to work harder, noting it was not our fault our business had been mismanaged. He found ways to acknowledge employees for their efforts, often expressed thanks, created projects where our business could excel and inspired us to dream big as we tried to improve our business. There were still some problems which took longer to correct, but the new manager stayed focused and overall made the business more successful and all of us employees earned direct benefits from that success.

So here's to the new manager about to take the post at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hilzoy at Washington Monthly has highlighted an editorial from 1933, just prior to the inauguration of FDR, which has some eerie similarities to the America of today and the challenges ahead:

It was a Grand Old Party -- for them [Republicans] -- while it lasted. Makers and beneficiaries of our politico-economic system, these are the men whose failure is now written large in the towering empty edifices that scrape the New York sky, in the hundreds of thousands of "For sale" and "To let" signs which adorn our cities, in the closed banks, in the foreclosed farms, in the whole picture of devastation which has come under their rule.

Have these captains and kings departed -- not to return? The epoch of their wanton and repulsive leadership is ending. Their incompetence and their betrayal are manifest. But much of the evil they have done lives after them. The coming years will see the struggle to purge America, to reassert the promise of American life, to validate, in consonance with the changed times and conditions, the high aspirations of the founders of the nation."

I was glad to see the Sam Cooke tune "A Change Is Gonna Come" performed in Washington at the Inauguration celebrations Sunday (you can watch the celebration free via HBO online).

Here's to real change, which only the citizens of the U.S. can create.

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