I gave a speech that turned out to be prescient, but the White House was furious.
Being a team player is important, but never as important as speaking the truth.
It's a personal hell to consider yourself to be a Cognisant Cassandra without validation.
My first 'toe in the waters' was in 1967 when I asked my Civics instructor why the Electoral College was still tolerated and why it had not been abolished in favor of direct referendum years before. 46 years I have found and followed other Cassandras; hoping that at some point the general populace would hear at least some of what we were saying. Obviously, not. :/
And as an equally foreboding exclamation point to your very prescient speech, 1994 also marked the unfortunate and disastrous ascent to House leadership of the truly vile and misanthropic populist Newt Gingrich, whose legacy of nasty, hyper-partisan division and the congressional dysfunction it wrought was epic. Arguably, Gingrich, more than any other single individual, became the early human precursor for the rise of the Tea Party and subsequently, the Trump/MAGA era itself. Clearly, he became one of the most nefarious manipulators regarding whom your speech was warning!
Sadly the far right are in the ascendency, Netherlands, Italy, Hungry, Argentina etc. Inequality is the main component in all this,a small elite getting richer whilst the majority getting poorer. Media owned by billionaires using immigrants as scapegoats to hide the real problems that global capitalism is devouring itself as a economic model and add in climate change which will impact the poor many times more than the wealthy. It's a bleak outlook.
Honesty, integrity and independence are lethal to a team of self-serving scoundrels. Congratulations on refusing to play 'nice'.
Speaking the truth is risky in today’s America
A lot of what you said has come to light
That was a great speech, amazing in how it foretold so much of what we see today! It was exactly what needed to be said, to warn of a very possible future. Sad that few, if any, saw what you foretold, and worked to prevent
I disagree, and believe you made the right choice. Clearly, the Whitehouse didn’t want to tick off Wall Street at a time when the movie Wall Street came out with the phrase “Greed is good,”‘and the Michael Douglas character was supposed to be a caricature of Donald Trump; a clueless unfettered capitalist, who plunges this country into chaos for his own personal avarice.
Let’s not forget, this was a time right after the 1987 stock market crash; the 89’ LBO implosion (culminating in United Airlines debacle--unions), and the demise of the banking system due to real estate being bought at prices comparable of art work, not actual worth based on revenue.
Bottom line: greed was destroying middle class jobs in America and you spoke out professor. You deserved a medal, not a dressing down from the same people who contributed to this mess!...:)
In any top heavy bureaucracy there can be no greater sin than not being a "Team Player". I got so tired of hearing this crap in my 35 years with General Motors that i once told my supervisors that their ineptitude was so frightening that I was selling off all my GM stock (and I did). This forever branded me as a lunatic or traitor and produced a wall of animosity the rest of the time I stayed until my retirement. I was long gone by the time they went bankrupt, just as I had predicted and I cannot but wonder how much of their savings went down the tube with their GM stock.
Today, much of our government has the same afflictions...but how to get out from under all this dysfunctionality? I have no idea. I think I'll be alright, but my grandchildren are going to catch Hell.
Well Robert, you certainly are a team player on Team Earth! All the things that you advocate for such as turning back insane disparages in wealth, restoring racial and social justice, and making sure democracy works for all of us, not top 1%, put you on the leading edge of the powers that can save the planet.
You demonstrate #22ndCenturyThinking, framing our challenges in ways that will be the guardrails of our future in the coming decades.
BRILLIANT. Bravo. Thank you for sharing this story...didn't think I could "love" you even more...(fear not, not in a stalker way!) but I do. POWERFUL story. You spoke "truth to power"! And still do. At this point, with the earth falling apart (literally and figuratively), you are a hero who helps me get through these dark, angry,days. Like a therapist. You "ooze" decency, compassion, courage ...you are all around one of the "good guys"...fighting the "good fight." Seems that I have become a Reich groupie! So be it....may you "live long and prosper".... the "power elite" (C. Wright Mills) "can't handle the truth," or more to the point, they cannot handle OUR knowing the truth....(ok, sorry for the ramble...writing this at 4 a.m.)...
Team players, but often, and sometimes to great benefit to the president they serve, in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s phrase, a team of rivals.
I’ve always used this metaphor for it: ten basketball players on their hands and knees each searching in a different place on the court for a lost contact lens will find it far more quickly than all ten looking in the same spot.
Yes-men tend to clump together like old, dead blood cells and are about as dangerous.
Thanks for sharing this, Bob. You have ALWAYS been for ALL THE PEOPLE.
Puttting the blinders on can hide the truth for short periods but does not prevent the freight train that is barrelling towards us. Only through candid observation and conversation can these things be brought to light. The Clinton administration had its head so far up it's (corporations can save us better than organized government can) ass that you never would have been approved for that speech. Fast forward 22 years and that exact same denial is what helped to lose Hillary the 2016 election. I see no gratification in being right in this case. Its more of a great sadness that what you posited came to be.
I can sympathize.
Many years ago when I was a young engineer working at NBS, we were told that Reagan’s newly appointed Secretary of Commerce would be speaking briefly to an informal gathering in the small downstairs lunchroom.
I had a long list of tasks yet to perform, so I decided to get lunch early and beat the crush I felt certain would materialize later for the Secretary’s press statement.
I had just cleaned my plate when in trooped the man himself and his entourage of suits and media people.
The guy was an idiot -- he must have been, for someone as blissfully ignorant of politics as I was then to spot the many bloopers. I let those go -- it wasn’t my place to stick my nose into the political side of things.
But then the subject turned to research projects; several of which I was working on.
As before, his commentary was nonsense. I piped up and asked if he had perhaps misspoke, and offered my understanding.
Rather than admit flubbing, he doubled down and spouted even more rubbish.
The gloves were off. The man was trashing my workplace and the colleagues I worked for. I lit into him, citing chapter and verse why he was in error, and directed him to the project chief managing the research in question.
I didn’t hang around for the rebuttal -- I had work to do.
Later on while listening to the evening news, when they announced something to do with the Department of Commerce, my ears pricked up.
At no point did they mention the unfortunate gentleman I’d gutted, and in fact I never heard from him again.
Was I responsible? Almost certainly not -- my ranking was so far down in the hierarchy as to be on a par with kitchen grease.
But grease can squeak.
Clinton lacked the better ambition and foresight to understand/agree and act on your critical analysis of actions of voters.