We were promised change, and one of those changes appears to be a dramatic increase in the number of "teachable moments." Unfortunately, most of these moments have left me with more questions than answers.
The most recent moment was the revelation that I am a racist because I disagreed with some of the president's proposals. That being the case, what am I because I disagreed with Bush 43's fiscal irresponsibility, Clinton's moral bankruptcy, Bush 41's economic ineptness, Reagan's Iran-Contra affair, etc.?
Another moment was the revelation that we can pay for at least half the cost government health care reform by eliminating waste and fraud from the existing government health care program called Medicare/Medicaid. If we could eliminate waste and prevent fraud, why have we waited until now?
For years, General Motors has squandered investors' capital and complained about foreign government informal subsidies to their auto manufacturers. Does anybody actually believe they will be better stewards of taxpayer capital? Why isn't the government's ownership in GM a blatant violation of the world's fair trade rules?
When I was growing up, I was generally rebuked when I failed to show respect for others by calling them "ma'am" or "sir." So why do we sit back when a military officer, who spent his entire adult life in service to our country, is ridiculed for calling a female elected official "ma'am?"
The President thinks Kayne West is a "jackass." I think Kayne West is a "jackass." Why am I a racist and the president is off the record?
I kill you because you belong to a rival gang. I kill you because you are of a different sexual persuasion. Why is one crime worse than the other?
When did we move from doing the right things right to doing the politically correct things?
Teachable moments are not limited to the national perspective. Some of the most poignant moments occur on a local level.
Fifty years ago, legislators didn't have the foresight to anticipate a reservoir might be used as a drinking water source. How does that translate into the health of Florida mussels being a higher priority than the health and welfare of 800,000 human beings?
The county school board decides to sue the state school board in the name of education. One well-respected hospital sues another well-respected hospital, in the name of good medicine, to prevent it from expanding its service. How do the board members and executives of the plaintiffs keep a straight face when they attempt to justify their legal follies to the community?
If we want to shop at Best Buy, we are accustomed to going during their business hours. So why are we outraged when the local library asks us to visit them during business hours? We honor Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, for the courage of his convictions to close all his stores on Sundays. So we do we deride the library board for its decision to close the libraries on Sundays?
A local grand jury investigates the legality of a new stadium. The vice-chair of that grand jury is the head of the authority that runs the stadium in question. No one anticipated a potential conflict of interest?
I am sure that somewhere in this column someone will be offended by something I have written and that certainty leads me to the greatest teachable moment of all. I can now explain the offense away by saying that I need to "recalibrate" my words.
Patrick T. Malone is a Snellville resident and Senior Partner at The PAR20Group, an international training and development firm headquartered in Atlanta. He is also the co-author of the new business book Cracking the Code to Leadership. E-mail him at email@example.com.