Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If We Ignore It, Will It Go Away? 

Human psychology has a habit of ignoring unpleasant things.  The hope is that somehow unpleasantness will correct itself without effort on the part of the person.  This is especially true in politics where burning issues are snuffed, put aside and buried for a time in the public's memory.  For example, public pensions.  Something needs to be done about their growing excess, but no one wants to tackle the issue, so push it off.  It takes a courageous -- and some might say, foolhardy -- politician to communicate to the public the urgency of resolving the issue.  Citizens don't want to hear it -- not yet anyway.  When a town or state goes bankrupt, we will deal with it then.  Of course, then will come with a cascade of citizen complaints that the government never did anything to fix the problem.  It takes a leader with extraordinary and persistent communications skills to make unpleasant issues real to those who don't want to listen.  And, it takes time to get people's attention.  In many ways, it is much easier in a corporation to be a leader than in the political realm where the ballot box waits as a guillotine for those who get too far ahead of the electorate.


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