Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A bridge collapses--let the blaming begin!

Reprinted with permission by the author:

A Bridge Collapses: Let The Blaming Begin

Note: As always, we encourage you to email QBQ! QuickNotes on to all you know. And in this case, please send to every lawmaker and elected official you can reach by email. Thank you!

John G. Miller

My wife, Karen, and I lived in Minneapolis, MN for 12 years. Three of our seven kids were born in the Twin Cities. I began my sales and training career there and QBQ! came to be in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We loveMinnesota. So we are feeling deep sadness over its recent tragedy. In fact, one of our client firms*Thrivent Financial for Lutherans*lost a beloved team member. Our hearts are heavy.

But I am discouraged over what's happening now politically. And sadly, what is occurring is so predictable and deeply woven into the fabric of our society, we hardly notice it. Right after of the collapse of the I-35W bridge into the Mississippi River, one Minnesota politician made a statement that was naive at best and gratuitous and false at worst. She said, "Bridges should not fall down in America!"

Huh? Really? Wow. It's always been my understanding that we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people who build imperfect things. And the truth is, things break. Tragic, but true.

Another politician in Washington, D.C made this statement: "We need to get to the bottom of this!" The bottom of what? There was no malice here. No person anywhere wanted this to happen.

These statements from our supposed leaders only have one aim: To initiate the Blame Game so they can score points against a political opponent. And it follows that if we buy into their propositions that human-made things shouldn't fail and we must find culprits, then the only choice left is to ask lousy questions such as, "Who made the mistake?" "Who allowed the bridge to crumble?" and "Who didn't fund the transportation bill?!"

But is acrimony, discord, and finger-pointing really what Minnesota and the United States need right now? Will this game of blame breed anything more than discontent, anger, and bitterness in those who have been impacted by this tragedy? Won't it simply leave the grieving stuck and unable to move forward? And isn't it all just a precursor to the legal suits that will soon follow?

When we look back, we'll all know it began with our elected officials setting the tone and leading the way by failing to remember or care that modeling is the most powerful of all teachers.

And what's odd is everyone I know will say, "Yes, blame is a bad thing!" and yet we continue to elect people who cannot wait to play gotcha. It's what many do best. Two years after a once-in-every-100-years storm swept over a city built below sea level, our two party political system and the media are still engaging in the whodunits. I often wonder what would've happened in September of 2005 if ninety million American adults had asked one simple question after Katrina: "What can I do right now to contribute?" I bet every home would be rebuilt, every pantry would be stocked, and every child would have new clothes.

I hope this time Minnesota will rise above what's become the accepted norm in our society. By ceasing the finger-pointing and recognizing the truth that all problems are in the past and solutions are now, we can work together to ensure a better future for us all. And then going forward when something breaks, we can stop asking, "Who broke it?" and start asking, "How can I help?" The answers that come may be good things like saying a prayer, hugging a friend, collaborating to solve real problems, and simply being thankful for every moment of this precious temporal journey we're all on called life.

So come on, Minnesota, we're pullin' for you to show the rest of us how to live. And once you've lead us through this tough time, let's all practice some personal accountability in this country by firing the blamers we put into office and find some real leaders.

Anybody with me?
By: John G. Miller, Author of QBQ! and Flipping the Switch
Edited by: Kristin Lindeen