Only in a Rich Country at Peace

To The Editor:
From: Andrew Cox

Crisis? What Crisis? There's a football game on.
Crisis? What Crisis? There’s a football game on.

When I read and hear the news, I come to the conclusion that the US is the richest country at peace in the world. We must be. Only in a rich country at peace could so many trivial issues make the news, and occupy our attention and energy.

Some examples of what I mean:

There is a movement afoot to provide plants with the same “rights” as animals. The members of the movement would probably give plants the same rights as humans, if they could get away with it. Switzerland has recently passed a bill granting just that right. The Swiss have been a very rich, very small, very peaceful country for so long, we shouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps one of our pressing requirements should be to create an agency to guarantee humane harvest of corn, or soybeans, or tomatoes … An earmark to get things started, perhaps?

In the midst of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression – one candidate’s campaign disclosed that September was a record breaker in donations – $150 million in one month. Probably enough money to feed a small country for a year. Chump change in our US – you don’t start talking real money until you get into the tens – no – make that hundreds of billions. Just ask any Representative or Senator. Only in a rich country.

The same candidate has purchased a half hour of TV space for an infomercial about why he should be the next President. He has to spend all that money somewhere – time is running out! I thought those infomercials were mostly on Sunday morning, advertising how to really clean your colon – or how to really get those thighs in shape. In this case the infomercial is in primetime, on all three networks, and – here’s the outrage – it could result in a World Series game having to be delayed for six or eight minutes to allow it to play. Damn! How can you possibly not feel affected by that kind of presumption!

The OPEC nations are going to slow down production of their oil. The price of a barrel has dropped because of a slowing of demand, so they want to keep the price up by cutting the supply. We’re not in OPEC. After all the noise and thunder about all the things we will do to drill, develop renewable energy sources, blah, blah, blah, the only action being taken is to stiff arm the development of power sources using tried and true technology and fuels.

And those electric cars – how precious. Just plug the little buggers into the wall and let them charge. Problem solved. Except, where does the juice come from? Don’t worry about that. In ten years all our energy will be clean and renewable. That ten year thing keeps coming up. Isn’t that the most recent reason for not drilling – it would take ten years to see any benefit? You gotta be rich and at peace to throw ten years around.

No drilling, no natural gas – and would someone remind Nancy Pelosi that natural gas is a fossil fuel. Only in the US would the number three person in our elected government not know that. Whatta country!

Only in a rich country at peace could about 95% of the Congress running for reelection be reelected – when the approval rating for that Congress hovers around 10% – and that’s being kind. Whatta country!

A federal judge just set aside large tracts of offshore areas for polar bears – no drilling, exploration or any other activity will be allowed in those areas. No uproar, no press coverage to speak of. We must have access to all the energy we need. Based on the lack of urgency exhibited by everyone, that’s the only conclusion I can draw. At least until the next spike, or a war – or a real dent in our pocketbooks. We’d rather pay foreign countries to produce and ship their oil to us than develop our own resources – whatta country!

Only in a rich country at peace can whether or not your fantasy football team wins on Sunday be the most burning question over the weekend. And do you wanna take the Phillies in four – or the Rays in 7 – and how much do you wanna bet?

Only in a rich country at peace can so much be made of so little – while the big things just get battered about. Both candidates propose what most of us know are plans that will never happen. And we’ll just keep going along. After all, we are the richest country in the world, and with the exception of two troublesome wars being fought by our professional military, we are at peace – kinda. Terrorists? Treat them like the criminals they may be. Give them access to our court system. Perhaps they should be able to sue for illegal arrest. Or for not being Mirandaized?

So, all this stuff has made me hungry. What’s for dinner – vegan, organic, fresh or frozen, free range, line caught, ethically harvested or slaughtered, no supplements, omega – 3, soy, high fiber, no trans fat, low cholesterol? How can I possibly think about other things when so many choices are placed right before me?

That’s what happens in rich countries at peace – until they’re not anymore.

Andy Cox is President of Cox Consulting Group LLC. The focus of his work is on helping organizations and their people increase their success in the hiring, developing and enhancing the performance of leaders and emerging leaders. Cox Consulting Group LLC was started in 1995, and has worked with a wide range of organizations, managers and leaders – helping them define success, achieve success and make the ability to change a competitive advantage. He can be reached at http://coxconsultgroup.com

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