In recent years, I've trained my sights on the U.S. government's failings:
- Going into such great debt that we've mortgaged our children's future, with China the main bank that will decide whether to modify our loan or leave us hanging.
- How despite repeatedly being told, the government let Bernie Madoff rip off billions of dollars from people. How despite being repeatedly told of dangerous conditions in a peanut processing plant, the warnings were ignored. How despite the Christmas bombers' father credibly warning the CIA about his son, he was allowed to fly--while the government spends a fortune to screen all of us at airports. The most recent report said that despite spending billions, we are utterly vulnerable to terrorist attacks, especially biological.
- The major federal "entitlement" programs: Social Security and Medicare teeter on the brink of bankruptcy despite ever increasing funding from us.
- Since the Korean War more than a half century ago, the big mighty U.S. military has a poor won-loss record let alone cost-benefit record: Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan. We can't even capture the person we say is our highest priority: Osama Bin Ladin.
- Our public schools, despite our spending ever more, near the world's top in per capita spending, are near the bottom in international comparisons of student achievement. The main way we seem to be able to reduce the racial achievement gap is by stunting Whites' and Asians' achievement rather than by improving Blacks' and Latinos'.
Yet my friend Warren Farrell made an on-point criticism of me: He urged me to come to grips with the fallibility of the human condition--that there is ample fallibility not just in government but in nonprofits and for-profits, as well as, of course, in individuals. I also need to remind myself that the world simply hasn't been around long enough for us to solve many problems: for example, cancer, slow learners, and getting the warrior to resolve conflict peacefully.
I'm trying to be more accepting of the human condition.