A post that is at least somewhat related to sales is far overdue here at A Little Tour in Yellow. I have been a chronic whiner and complainer (with plenty to whine and complain about, no denying that), and it is time to turn things around just a touch. I won’t — as the title of this post suggests — abandon politics altogether, however, but I will instead relate my day-to-day struggles in the field as a salesman with the much more important struggles in Washington politics.
Here’s what’s up: I can empathize — at least as much as my experience will allow — with the emotions and frustrations our good leaders (i.e., Democrats) must experience when they struggle with unsophisticated, perhaps ignorant (or at least uninformed) people who hold a recklessly high opinion of themselves despite their backwardness (i.e., most Republicans).
Trust me, I have seen the blank Dumbo stare that Pelosi or Obama must see when they try to get through to John Boehner. There are people who simply do not have the personality, intelligence, or maybe the sophistication to understand rational thought; they fail to recognize their own best interests and conclude that anything they are responsible for doing is a good thing, regardless of how harmful it is. These people act as if they have no connection with reality and harbor a secret death drive that causes them to act so inauthentically. (I wonder what Spinoza–I think– would say about this morality, or Nietzsche. Is deliberate abuse or irresponsible intellect entitled to a serious question of morality…or are these people simply bad? Sorry.)
In my line of work I deal with people unable to think strategically about costs, investments, and profits, but they only sink their ventures. Today we have been electing too many people cut from the very same mold — so-callled job creators like Michele Bachman — and when they sink, we all sink.
Guiding a business owner through concepts like return on investment is a favorite example of how people might not get it. It sometimes gets to the point where I can say to a client: So you don’t think making a return in profits that multiplies your investment is a good idea for your business? And they’ll answer “No.”
It isn’t about the profits, they’ll say. It is about the expense. “Sure, I would love to make an extra $100,000 next quarter, but I have to cut my expenses. I can’t keep paying you $10,000.”
Today’s Republican leaders seem to think the same way, but with spite. They would rather cut and run leaving future “profits” in the form of economic gain suffer in the interest of what they think is a short-term gain. I’m sure Obama and the rest sit across the table and spell it all out with all the easily understood facts a reasonably intelligent person would need to make a smart decision, but then…you get that dumpy Dumbo stare. Is he going to cry, laugh, spit up? Is he awake?
That’s where I think today’s GOP betrays the United States. They understand the stakes and don’t care. They will gladly let everything go to hell in a handbasket. Frankly, it wouldn’t hurt them much politically if it did anyway. They are skilled at blaming everyone else for the problems they cause. And short term survival matters more than long term gains anyway. Very irresponsible.
We see this in sales all the time. You can have the best product or service and present it flawlessly, but the person you are trying to do business with isn’t there. They don’t grasp a thing. Or maybe there is a certain inexplicable stubbornness that can’t be sorted out. Who knows? A salesman can only do so much and a smart salesman cuts his losses and moves on.
In politics, however, especially with the almost intentionally destructive tenor of politics today, a strategy of cutting of losses isn’t all that smart in the winner take all game that’s being played now.
So like a good salesman with a valuable product to sell, our politicians can roll out there best stuff…but sometimes there’s no one at the other end to buy. There’s only a blank dumb stare. Our Democratic leaders have much more at stake than a commission. They, at least, realize they have a responsibility to all of us. If it is hard to walk away from a smart deal in sales, imagine what it must be like if you are tethered to an impossible task that you can’t walk away from, cannot afford to lose and yet cannot win.
Stubborn self-serving stupidity is ruining this country.