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When Will America be Honest with Itself?

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 2, 2010 9:05 AM |

Initially I intended to write this morning about the development of a bubble in China’s property market. As I was formulating my thoughts, this commentary took a turn. I went with it. I hope you will follow along.

I strongly and adamantly believe that before you can fix a problem, you have to be honest and acknowledge the reality and the core of the problem in the first place. I remain extremely concerned about the future of our economic landscape due to the very fact that I believe many within our society at large, and the financial and political spectrum specifically, are neither honest with themselves nor the American public. In fact, time and again I find myself thinking that the media and our financial and political leaders believe America can’t handle the truth. That’s is such bulls&*%!  I believe that mentality, however, is pervasive and is poisoning our country.

In speaking with a friend just yesterday, I shared the use of a phrase which I believe is all too prevalent in far too many corners of our society and our economic landscape. What phrase is this? Superficial congeniality is a phrase coined by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, in his book Straight from the Gut.  I have a mixed opinion of Mr. Welch, but I love this phrase and use it liberally. Why?

I want people to be brutally honest with me and I try to be brutally honest with them. In the process, real respect develops. Without respect, both for oneself and others, the necessary value structure for excellence does not develop and mediocrity inevitably sets in. I see this all too often in society today. It sickens me.

America should drive superficial congeniality out of the equation. America should demand the truth. America must be honest with itself. Unless and until that happens, we are doomed to the mediocrity that is overwhelming us. Do not think for a second that we are not a long way down that road already.

What do you think?

No superficially congenial responses, please.


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