Back in 2008 I wrote an article in response to Barak Obama being elected as the 44th president of the United States, or as I like to refer to it; CEO of USA Inc. Eight years later “Yes We Can” likely has a whole different meaning for many folks on both the left and the right. I’ve reworked this article in context of where we are today and how different it seems things are, yet when we look below the surface, so much remains the same.
As a country’s president, as a company’s president leadership is so often about inspiring your people to believe in a vision not yet seen. To believe in change is important, but to me it seems that to believe that one person can bring the desired change is not only misguided but it borders on dangerous.
As you read the article below please keep in mind that a leader can create a vision and even inspire us with that vision. But without and effective leadership team, board of advisors, board of directors and shareholders, inspiration is worth about the same as the hole in a donut.
The people wanted change and on January 20th, 2009, and again on January 20th, 2017 Hearts, Souls, Minds and maybe a nation were changed!
On January 20th 2009 I saw the faces of many different races filled with hope and it inspired me as I watched the audience listening to Barack Obama’s articulate and moving acceptance speech. I glanced out of my window onto a cloudless night and saw the last quarter of the moon and in that moment I had a deep sense that something other than a moon cycle or even a presidency was coming to an end. However, I was aware that there were many who were not particularly inspired by the thought of a democrat in the White House, let alone one that some believed was a socialist. In fact, many of my business associates were quite concerned at what this could mean in the face of the then recent global economic struggle.
There is little doubt that history was made in the United States on the evening of November 4th 2008. Not only was the first man of color elected to office as the American President, but also more people came out to vote than in the history of the country.
I was excited: Not just for what any new presidency can bring, but for something more important than that… You see it seems to me that over the past almost a decade people have gotten lazy and complacent. The media had served up super-size portions of fear that the average person stuffed down by either pursuing more and more material stuff or looking outside of themselves to either blame or solve “the problem”.
As I read what I wrote in 2008 I am shaken to realize that once again supersized portions of fear were put back on the menu and many of the American public scoffed it down like starving child at a banquet.
In 2008 I believed that something exciting was happening: That the US Presidential Election had awakened a sleeping giant, a mighty force. A force that was growing not only in the US but also across the world, a force that too many had dismissed as lazy and disinterested. However, this sleeping giant had begun to choke on the fear that was being force fed down its throat. The blessing is that the fear seemed to have awakened the giant to realize that the world must be changed.
It seemed that it would take the force of a new generation to implement that change. The sleeping giant, the force that was being awakened were the Millennial’s, also known as generation Y or the WE generation. The young people were no longer sleeping; they were waking up on mass and reclaiming the planet. They were saying “Yes We Can!” to calling out corruption, taking care of the environment, tearing down barriers and embracing that we live in a global community.
Coming back to today: Of the estimated 24 million people under 30 who voted in the 2016 presidential election, a large majority supported Hillary Clinton, but Clinton received notably less support these voters than Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012. Clearly, Hilary Clinton was not seen as the person who could deliver meaningful change.
About half the number of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast ballots in this election. That rate falls well below the estimated general voter turnout rate of roughly 58 percent. It should also be noted that Donald J. Trump got a significant 37 percent of the youth vote.
Many people are confused about how Donald Trump could possibly get elected (I wrote how that happened in my viral article Decoding Trump), because he signs were there for those who would lift their heads out of denial. That being what it was, the shocking truth is that Donald Trump got elected for exactly the same reason Barak Obama did: The deep desire for change!
The Millennial generation is the largest generation on the planet, they far out number the baby boomer and the 2008 and 2012 presidential election they came out to vote. They came out to vote for change, and in so doing they made a statement that the giant was awake. What’s more, that giant appeared to be awakening all over planet earth. We can clearly see it in the US because it’s under our noses. However, remember that the largest portion of the Chinese nation are also the Millennials and for that matter so are the Iranian’s.
Has the giant fallen back to sleep?
Ladies and gentlemen, the world is changing…
The time of entitlement and complacency is in its last quarter and we, Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Millennial’s can no longer wait for someone or something else to fix ‘it’.
The words I wrote in 2008 about President Obama are as true today as they ever were. The only difference is that many of the folks who were disappointed by Barak Obama winning the presidency may today be happy that the republican candidate has become President Trump.
The deeper truth is that, as much as some people would have liked to believe that Obama could change the world, there are many folks today with the same belief about Trump. However, as Margaret Mead said:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Next time you want to judge the people who did not vote they way you did, you might want to remember that in the real world we get to vote not just at the ballots but also with our attention, with our feet and most of all with our dollars.
Whatever side of the isle you stand on remember that the engine of our world is in a very real way fuelled by business and that you as a business person as a leader get to use your business to shift the world in the direction you want to see it go.
It is my belief that underneath the bravado we all went into business because we wanted to make things better, first for those we love, then for our local community and then as we grow for a larger and larger community. Whatever your judgement of President Obama or President Trump might be, keep in mind that we all (left and right) are driven in some way to make the world a better place.
It is certain that this world, our world, can be changed by the clear focus, intention and action of all of us. We don’t know the future, but I can tell you that it’s more important than ever to be innovative, adaptable and ready for major disruption.
Open your heart, your soul and mind to greater possibilities for yourself and the planet. Take action, take risks, take action today, do something to build your dream and in so doing commit to making the world a better place because it will take all of us!
Remember to take risks; learn Why Risky is The New Safe in my video Randy Gage here:
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