“Before I give you a short lecture on what I call ‘political realities,’ here is your assignment for our next class. Now that you are divided into two groups, each supporting either the conservative side or liberal side, each group must prepare a ten-minute speech and a TV ad. The group’s representative will deliver the speech. Visual aids are allowed, but it is the effectiveness of the message that counts.
“We have political parties because people want, or believe they want, something different from what they have now, while others want to defend and develop the existing way of governing. When you view politics for this perspective, you can identify basic issues and beliefs. I haven’t found many people to agree with my analysis, but I believe it to be accurate. You, of course, may disagree, but you must be able to defend your group’s position.
“I believe the drive toward centralization of nearly everything is rooted in the DNA of civilization. The motive of this need to seek centralization would probably be a good thing, if the process had some limit. But it does not. It continues until centralization reaches the breaking point where constant centralization creates an unmanageable entity. The need to have or, at least, to believe the process has created a controllable management structure where a small group of elites can create a better life for all by reaching the point where management is responsible to the will of the people sounds like a very desirable outcome.
“Unfortunately, it is not. The Department of Homeland Security is a good example. After the terrorist attack on 9/11, in a laudable intent to secure future safety by improving management accountability and effectiveness, several organizations that were already too big for effective management were combined. However, I think only the priests of centralization believe the head of DHS can or is improving security. The more likely result is that most of his time and energy are expended in trying to find out what is going on in his empire and how to satisfy the requirements of the president and Congress. Nevertheless, now that one person is in charge, the pushers of centralization believe improvements in security will routinely occur even with the almost weekly examples of bumbling by the managers of airport security. From the time of unwritten history, the Roman Empire’s rise and fall, to the present day, the process of centralization continues, modified only by the undeniable failure of a society, civilization, or a national government. This process can be found behind the constant failure of socialist nations.
“Behind the scenes battle the ‘founders and the guardians.’ This theme is easier to explain because it can be observed in both the public and private sector. The keywords are founders and guardians. Organizations in the beginning of their histories can point to the people who were the founders. With maturation, nearly all organizations slowly, but inexorably, move into the control of the guardians. These well-meaning, good people use the power of process to protect and perpetuate the organization they inherited. Process expertise does not involve the understanding or the furtherance of the founder’s mission, it is solely concerned with the way the mission is accomplished. You have all seen them. They are the enablers of the units who focus on personnel management, accounting, logistics, communications, and finance. Good people all and their skills are needed and respected.
But they should not supplant the line mission leaders. The downside is the effect of their process requirements on the effectiveness and direction of the line mission of the unit. Seldom can a person with process skills actually lead people engaged in the primary mission of the organization they serve. Yet this process affects all organizations, private and public.
My third theme is the most important. The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, our founders, the separations of powers, and the blood and sweat of our ancestors all combine to make America a very special place. All of these elements rest on the ‘rule of law.’ When an administration like President Obama’s disregards the rule of law, they are trashing the very core of America’s existence.
The rule of law doesn’t provide total equality for all people. Slogans spouting sound bytes such as “a fair shot for everyone,” “equal opportunity for all,” and “everyone deserves a fair share” are the false promises that permeate socialist speeches. The rule of law does, however, provide equal protection under the law from the arbitrary excesses of government and the protection of life and property by the government. This protection must be provided equally to all citizens, all the time, regardless of wealth, economic stature, race, religion, or political position. Justice must be blind in its application to all. When it is not, our society will begin to unravel, for the rule of law is what holds our nation together. It is what finally triumphed over evils like slavery, racial and religious discrimination, and inequality of opportunity to be all you can be. This is unique to America. It did not arrive here with our waves of immigrants. Instead, it is what brought them to take the risks of moving to a new land.
“Ponder these three themes. Use them or develop your own. But you must be able to identify what is behind the sound bytes of our political parties. Class is over. See you all next week.”