28 October 2005

Unwelcome Déjà Vu

I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going...?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination."

The Jenius ventures far and wide in His readings. In this case, uncomfortably encountering Peggy Noonan's column titled "A Separate Peace" in The Wall Street Journal, posted online.

The words had the awkward feeling of Truth laid bare, as if an autopsy were being performed at a kitchen table. (No less so for referring to her country as "America," the quaint arrogance of the U.S.-born to refer to themselves as if they were the only inhabitants of two continents.) With no effort at all, Noonan's thoughts reflect the angst many of Us feel in Puerto Rico about Our island.

She goes on to state another--oft-repeated here--Truth:

Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us.

Unlike Noonan, The Jenius doesn't believe the label of "elite" extends to politicians and journalists. Politicians are The Fools; a successful maggot is merely a maggot with its belly full. And as for journalists, yapping dogs also make noise and produce about the same societal impact as Our Fourth Estate does.

But the true elite, of which We have many, must act. Sadly, many of the best of Us choose to leave Puerto Rico--and no, not all or even most of those who leave are elite. But by definition, the elite are a minority, and a loss of even one, through absence or indifference, is a loss measured far beyond mere percentages.

Once again, Noonan places her keen eye on the salient point that threatens Our future:

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."

You know people like that; We all do. People whose depth and breadth of talent is turned inward, not outward, towards personal benefit and not societal growth, towards getting, not towards leading. Lest you misunderstand My position, no true leader can achieve societal growth without personal satisfaction. But to eliminate one's greatest potential contribution because of a lack of integrity, vision, discipline or perception is a tragedy.

Noonan continues:

Not all of course. There are a lot of people--I know them and so do you--trying to do work that helps, that will turn it around, that can make it better, that can save lives. They're trying to keep the boat afloat. Or, I should say, get the trolley back on the tracks.

They often toil unrecognized and unnoticed. Some of them are openly mocked, derided or scorned. None are Fools: the Fools can only jeer, like hyenas cringing from lions. Our elite often have the desire, yet still need Our protection to continue the effort. But then again, there are the elite...and there are the others:

That's what I think is going on with our elites. There are two groups. One has made a separate peace, and one is trying to keep the boat afloat. I suspect those in the latter group privately, in a place so private they don't even express it to themselves, wonder if they'll go down with the ship. Or into bad territory with the trolley.

Those that have made their separate peace, that "have theirs," can keep it. If earned with integrity, no one can begrudge it. All We ask is that they step aside and let the truest of the elite make their effort.

The rest of Us, who wonder if We will go down with the ship or into a fatidic tunnel, soldier on. It is not My intention to go down with any ship; there is absolutely nothing romantic or heroic about defeat. My intention is--pardon the transition--to get the trolley back onto its tracks. Or better yet, to trade the trolley for an electric supertrain. Or a jet.

The choice needs to be made. Now and every day until We achieve Our best.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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