America is at a crossroads. We’re in the valley of decision, and there’s no guarantee we will get it right.
We need a visit from Dr. Phil.
Although I’m not sure his counseling tips are particularly original or profound, I love one question Dr. Phil commonly asks his guests. After they give him a rambling explanation to justify their boneheaded or ineffective actives, he simply asks:
“And how’s that working for you?”
It’s a brilliant question. Instead of directly confronting the guest and saying what he really thinks (“You must be crazy!”), Dr. Phil causes them to face the FRUIT and CONSEQUENCES of their actions. His question forces misguided guests to reflect on why their situation is going from bad to worse if their actions and motives are truly so noble.
If Dr. Phil interviewed America today…
- When we explained why we voted for “hope and change” in 2008, I’m sure he would be sympathetic. But in the end, he would surely have to ask, “And how’s that working for you?”
- When we described the stimulus plans and bailouts to rescue the economy and create jobs, he would again inquire, “And how’s that working for you?”
- When we told him of the sincere hopes we had that America would finally bridge its economic, racial, and gender divisions, he would probe, “And how’s that working for you?”
- When we described the administration’s efforts to project a more humble American image overseas, apologizing for past mistakes and reaching out to Muslims in particular, he would inquire, “And how’s that working for you?”
- And in case you think I want to let the previous administration off the hook, I’m certain Dr. Phil would also want to know if we’re satisfied with the outcome of the decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq: “And how’s THAT working for you?”
We can have legitimate arguments as to the true intentions or motives of our leaders. But even if we deem them to be sincere in their vision for a better America, Dr. Phil’s sobering question remains. He’s never swayed by people’s feelings, nor impressed with their lofty intentions if there isn’t positive fruit in the real world.
However, just as many of Dr. Phil’s guests want to remain in a world of denial, the same is true of many Americans and many of our politicians. We desperately need a REALITY CHECK, and the sooner the better.
Common sense would remedy most of our national problems, if not for our partisan blinders. For example, how about this follow up question from Dr. Phil: “How long can an individual, a family, an organization, or a nation last, if they borrow 40% of every dollar they spend (as the federal government is now doing)?” This obviously isn’t a sustainable policy, is it?
And many other questions are likewise no-brainers. Can we truly claim “progress” on unemployment when more and more people are simply leaving the job market and relying on the government for their support? And when debating what people’s “fair share” of taxes should be, how can it be considered fair for half of American’s citizens to pay no income taxes at all?
Dr. Phil’s question isn’t PARTISAN, but PRAGMATIC. There’s enough blame to go around for both major parties. But one thing is clear: “The same old, same old” clearly isn’t working.
Meanwhile, our country seems dangerously poised to fulfill the old definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results.