Commuting is one of the things I’ve missed over the past decade. I know, this is crazy talk, but hear me out. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an introvert – commuting allows me time to prepare for the day ahead and process the day just passed. But, as I’ve also said before, be careful what you wish for.
A 20 minute commute is OK. A 30 minute commute, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, can be unbearable. Currently, I get to drive 70 minutes, through some of the most gorgeous countryside anywhere! 30 minutes would be great – 70 minutes is overkill. I’d gladly settle for something in-between. The two-and-a-half hours of driving is killing me.
However, like all things that seek to kill me, I look for survival solutions. I’m experimenting with routes, time-saving opportunities (e.g eating and shaving while driving, etc), and multi-tasking. I use the morning drive to feed my soul and I use the late-night drive to feed my mind. In the morning, I seek to connect with God, worship, and pray. At night, I either use the quiet drive to digest the day’s events, or I listen to podcasts and feed my need for ideation.
Unfortunately, we are so polarized, that it seems we can’t agree on the solutions.
Through this process of ideation, as I’ve listened to various podcasts and radio discussions, I’ve been struck with a reverberating theme. We, as a society, are increasingly bogged down by bureaucracy – broken bureaucracy. Although no single individual is able to accomplish major change on their own, we, as a culture, tend to blame individuals for our failures.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve listened to several podcasts (liberal, moderate, and conservative) – each story I listened to, spelled out common problems we all face: the economy, religion, government, wars, international relations, AIDS, poverty, etc. In each case, as I listened to the stories, I was very impressed at the largess of the issues. In other words, these issues are so huge, that only a great community effort will enable us to solve the problems.
Unfortunately, we are so polarized, that it seems we can’t agree on the solutions. While I may have my opinions, I do not claim to be smart enough to have the absolute answers to any of these issues. I’m not sure anyone does. So, instead of working towards rapid solutions, we argue, debate, and demonize for months and years and decades. If one group’s ideas are rejected, it seems that instead of accepting the solution adopted, we (especially those whose values or solutions were rejected), spend our energy fighting the solution. So, what happens, once a solution is decided (usually by a narrow margin vote) instead of working to see the success of that solution, the fight continues – and groups seek to sabotage the other groups proposed solution.
Instead of solutions, we are creating stagnation. Then, amazingly, we blame the people who had ideas in the first place. It’s quite amazing. A man runs for president and then wins by a slight margin. But because he is unable to accomplish the things he said he could, we point fingers and blame him for causing the mess. Why don’t we point fingers at those who put up roadblocks? Why don’t we blame the decades of mismanagement that led to the current crisis? Why is it the new guy’s fault?
We need to step and face the real problem: massive bureaucratic stagnation.
The system is broken. Democracy is dysfunctional. Until we fix the system, we’re not going to fix the problems.