A Brit’s take on US dithering ~ no not Obama’s dithering ~ yours!

Is Web2.0 healthy?

The critics say not.  They are so wrong but in one aspect they are right.

In the past, when we dithered, we doodled or watched TV.  Now we can express our dithering in a blog.  I am doing that now!

All around me I have seen signs today of people dithering

Let’s take the US blogosphere for a moment.

“Let me be clear,” as politicians are wont to say these days.  I am not American. But I an infinitely curious about Obama.  I watch politics and economics generally and I have a Google Alert for “Obama”.  Every day I read anything and everything that is written about Obama!  I have an ongoing and thorough sample.  This is what I “hear” from America.

America is in a panic

And they are projecting their panic onto Obama.  “Obama is dithering,” people cry.   Uh-uh.  Obama is going like a train.  But the bloggers are dithering. Oh, the bloggers are dithering.

Let me explain how I read dithering in the average blog post

Tendentious

  • Almost every blog post that I read about Obama ~ for him or against him ~ is tendentious.  It is clear that the author has a position that goes something like this.  I am uncomfortable about the world and I am uncomfortable in this world.  And then they follow that view by a ragbag of ragbag of stuff that Obama did.  It’s a jumble of unrelated stuff that reflects what the blogger is feeling.  I include the Huff Post in this sweeping generalization.

Circular

  • The weirdest part about this stream of muddle coming out of the bloggersphere in the US is that bloggers think that something might change when they write what they write.  Such narcissism!  Their superficial logic goes like this.  “Obama is wrong.  I say so.  Obama will now do what I say is right.”  Will he?  Do the bloggers really believe they have that power to blackmail change by voicing their ill temper?  Or is their logic even more weird?  “Obama will not change and so I can carry on being uncomfortable and whinge and whine until eternity?”  Become a “whinging pom”?  Well why not?  Maybe that is the destiny of fading empires.

Irascible

  • I think that the blog posts are a from of dithering.  They are a form of dithering as people decide what action to take.  I lived in Zimbabwe most of my life and I used to say there that when you start complaining about Mugabe it is time to get a life.  I use complaining about Heads of State as my rule of thumb that someone is losing the plot!  The complainer doesn’t even know the man (or woman).  They have no influence.  Their narrative is, and can only be, displacement activity.  It is a expression of bad temper, no more or less.

Scared witless by our own decision

  • But not all displacement activity is bad.  It is good when we recognize dithering as a signal that we are building up to take a decisive step in our own lives.  We have made the decision already.  That decision is made.  But we haven’t taken the first step.  The first step scares us silly.  So we rant, rave and complain about others!

What is the decision that has scared us so?

  • I think a certain amount of dithering is helpful.  It helps us muster the energy and commitment for the journey.  It helps us say goodbye to what must be left behind.  It helps us tidy away what we want to find on our return, much as we tidy an apartment before we leave on holiday. The big question though is what is the decision we have made.

What is going on behind the appearance of sulking?

Writing this, I realize that I should read American blogs with these questions in mind:

  • What decision(s) have been made that American bloggers are winding up to put into practice?
  • What decisions are they delaying (possibly unwisely)?
  • How does their procrastination affect me (and to be frank advantage me?)
  • When I act, how will my actions affect them? (They are far away and I am not very important so not very much ~ but the question should be on the general list of questions.)
  • When I comment on their blogs (if they let me ~ many are blocked off), what could I say that is useful to their story?

What decisions have been made in the US by the ordinary blogger?

Many seem to be trying out a policy of sulking?  But maybe there is something more interesting going on underneath?

Dithering

So yes, I am dithering. I am writing about American bloggers dithering to avoid doing some tasks of my own.   Have I managed to move from futurology to presentology?  Have I managed to bring myself to a state of action?

  • I think so.  Americans (as a rough group) are in the stage of bargaining.    In the 5 stage process of grief, they may slip through a period of depression when they realize that they have to start living again.  Then hopefully they fall in love again with life as it is.  We are close to the end.  For people interested in these processes ~ people have take a year since Lehman’s collapsed to get to this point and America had an election in the middle.  That might have slowed down the process of adjustment.
  • In the meantime, I can try to understand the decision that American bloggers have made but have not yet enacted.  What is scaring them silly?  When I understand that, I will find their blogs more enjoyable.  They will sap my energy less.  And I might make some friends along the way.

Great weekend to you!

Happy Thanksgiving from UK!

Thanksgiving in UK

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here ~ at least not en masse.  But Americans who live among us do.  Some celebrated early and have regaled us with stories of botched gravies and seasonal accompaniments. Others have desperately needed lettuce.  And others insist on making cranberry sauce from scratch.

Naive questions from foreigners

I asked my American colleagues what you are celebrating.  They were dumbfounded.  It’s an excuse to eat one said.  Another sad you were celebrating the first harvests of the Pilgram Fathers ~ and then laughed embarassedly!  Political holidays are always so awkward!

So Happy Thanksgiving to you.  May you have a good time with your families and safe travels!

The world turned this week – did you notice?

I think we will look back on this past week as a turning point.  And like most positive turning points, it arrived quietly.

This week we moved past a point where cool in American is Fonzi and Grease.  This week became the week when it is cool to work hard at school and to get up at 04:30am to do extra work if necessary.  This week, schools became a place where students explore opportunities and we as adults and teachers make doorways to bigger and more exciting worlds and put away treadmills that are pounded for no reason.

This week the momentary Acting President while Congress was listening to Obama’s health speech was a Nobel winning scientist.

This week it has become clear that sulking is not an option. Engage in intelligent debate about solutions. Negotiate. Find answers.

We will look back on this week as the point when the world turned.

I for one am very glad.

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Flu, Ghurkhas, 100 days and we the people

Day Two at Xoozya

Home!  A cup of tea! Hmm, no milk.  I took out a tea bag from the pot, made some black tea.

Interesting.  Fair Trade English Breakfast tea tastes much better black.  Ta da!  Been in the UK for two years and I’ve struggled to find a tea I like.  I’d been told it is the water that makes the tea taste funny.  Maybe it is the milk.  Black tea for me from now on.

News!  The world has moved on while I had my head down preparing proposals.

The words of 29 April 2009

  • Swine flu up to level 5 – pandemic imminent.  British troops departure from Iraq is also imminent.  Odd use of words don’t you think?  Why didn’t BBC say British troops are close to leaving Iraq? Or preparing to leave Iraq?
  • 27 Government MP’s broke ranks and voted against a Government proposal to restrict Ghurka residency in UK.  BBC is saying the vote challenged the PM’s ‘authority’.  Did they mean ‘control’?   Surely I elect my MP to represent me and Parliament has greater authority than the PM?  Authority = legitimate power and all the power is delegated ultimately from Parliament?  The PM answers to Parliament surely?  Well, I grew up in a republic so maybe I have this wrong.  Correct me if I am, please.
  • Obama’s 100 days.  This time I liked the BBC’s choice of words. Something like – the sentiment in America is that “we have chosen the right person for the job”.  Yes, much better.

We have chosen the right person for the job

Feel the tension fall away.  We have chosen the right person for the job.

We the people have chosen and we are happy not just that we are right, but because in our rightness, we see, hear and feel our collective competence.

We notice the 2 long years we put into making our choice was a good investment.  We notice the American people, man and woman, young and old have good judgment.  We notice that the American people despite their differences are able to sit down and thrash out what needs to be done.  We notice that even when times are hard and it would be oh, so, so easy to get it all wrong, the American people didn’t lose their nerve.  We notice the American people invest in a collective agreement even though their own view, temporarily, may not dominate.  And so our confidence rises that we can make another collective agreement, then another, and then another.  (Yes, for the first time in my long life, I’m in danger of becoming an American groupie!)

I don’t like the current tendency in British politics to “play the man and not the ball”.  I don’t like the rendition by BBC that MP’s triumphed “against” Parliament.  No. The MP’s triumphed because they worked with Parliament.

Today should have been a celebration that we are able to discuss serious matters (very serious for the Ghurkhas and their families) without coming to blows.  Today, we should be celebrating that Parliament works.  Today, we should be should be celebrating that our chosen representatives can go to the capital and present our views.  Our views.  We the people.

A man from a neighboring village won his case last year to erect a small memorial on the bridge connecting our settlements.  This memorial is to the soldiers of Richard II and Cromwell who lost their lives fighting for Parliament.  Parliament was hard-won in similar battles all over the UK.  Parliament is a hard-won right and should be cherished and celebrated with our cup of tea (without milk)!

Xooyzya!

A play on the Greek for authority.  We the people.  We the people are quite capable of sitting down to discuss our differences, even when our differences frighten us.

And we are going to need a little solidarity if this flu breaks out.  I hope HR departments across the land are stepping up hygiene.  Tissues and wipes everywhere.  Rubbish bins cleared more often.

Time to check the share price for tissue-makers!

We the people have chosen the right person for the job.

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