Enlightened Conflict

the last stand of the old white men

November 13th, 2016




“The most successful businessman is the man who holds onto the old just as long as it is good, and grabs the new just as soon as it is better.”



Lee Iacocca





    Do you ever ‘wtf white people’ even though you are a white people.






I almost called this the “potential redemption of a generation” but that is my concluding thought.


trump-old-white-man-angry-cabinetThis is about a Trump presidency and his speculated band of merry old white men he is going to have as his “band of brothers” <his cabinet and advisors> to guide America to the next level of greatness.



Let me spend a minute on old white men <and I have the right to do so … because I am one> and business culture and business acumen.


While a generalization, because there are exceptions, old white men have hollowed out the business world in their quest for “winning at any cost” and “maximize win-to-cash” ratio.


Everyone should note that Trump is the poster child of this hollowness <and I will aggravatingly point it out over and over again>.




Capitalism is not inherently bad. In fact … it is an incredible engine for growth, innovation and increased wealth & standard of living for any and all.

But old white men hollowed capitalism. They took out all the good and added all the greed. I could partially defend old white men and suggest that they were simply participants in the arc of business history … but I will not. Peter Drucker pointed out the beginning of the arc in 1989 and we old white men could have eyed the arc and … well … stopped it. Instead old white men viewed the arc as an opportunity to not be burdened by morality & soul and an opportunity to build personal wealth.


That is Trump in a nutshell.





Brands are fabulous creatures and not inherently bad. They offer us every day schmucks a nice heuristic way to make decisions and isolate differentiation in which we can make true choices.

But old white men hollowed brands. The easiest way to point this out is that we stopped talking about brands and started talking about branding. Old white men started looking at brands as vehicles of wealth and not vehicles of differentiation. Brands should evolve and not be constructed or built like some building of cold steel and cheap Styrofoam ceiling tiles. The whole concept of ‘building a brand’ is one of the most insidious concepts to infiltrate good and meaningful marketing and communications.


That is Trump in a nutshell.





Profit is not inherently bad. Used wisely it contributes not only to personal, or individual wealth, but spurs on business growth in terms of innovation and employee development AND social involvement. But old white men hollowed the soul out of each dollar as they squeezed every cent of profit out of it. Profit is good only if it is not tainted by <a> greed and <b> at the expense of giving back <in terms of true societal salvation type things>. Businesses represent an important weave in the fabric of society and the moment a business ignores that weave and focuses solely on the profits of the entity itself … well … the opportunity arises to let the soul of each dollar made bleed out into the ether. And, yes, dollars can have a soul. Making money shouldn’t feed stock holders it should feed society … alas … it does not in an old white guy’s business acumen.



That is Trump in a nutshell.




Wealth dispersion


Making money and creating wealth is inherently a double positive: proof of the value for your efforts and increased standard of living <not just in materialistic comforts but in real living>.

Old white men hollowed out the middle. This is more a byproduct of their business acumen more than anything else because I cannot really point out any specific behavior they consciously took to do this … but … suffice it to say that more went to the old white men and less to the ones who actually made the money for them.


That is Trump in a nutshell.





Effective communication has been, and always will be, complex and complicated … and a good thing for society. Effective communication inevitably feeds into the minds and enlightenment of the listeners. If you dumb down communication inevitably you dumb down the listeners.

Old white men hollowed out communication. I imagine as they hollowed out everything else they found it inherently more productive to gain their objectives by hollowing out communication. Everything became soundbites, powerpoint bullet points and ‘elevator speeches.’ Effectively communicating complexity took on less importance than puncturing the mind with a quick sharp stab <and then walking away>. Old white men mastered the art of emptying communication to a point where businesses end up walking on the slippery surface of irrelevance <cloaked in a beautiful robe called “what is important for you to know.”>


That is Trump in a nutshell.




Leadership is a complex mix of personal, professional and pragmatic.

When wielded well it is a beautiful tapestry of effectiveness, however, beauty is often in the eyes of the beholder when actual effectiveness becomes the measuring stick. As a reminder, old white men leadership grew up in a business world of ‘dictatorship-type leadership behavior or, at its best, benevolent dictatorship leadership.

Old white men grew up in the hallowed halls of hollowed leadership management. This means that their ‘management twitch muscles’ inevitably provide reflexive business decision making based on this.


The easiest way to point this out is that businesses have developed a myriad of cultural initiatives and, yet, old white men leadership tends to simply treat them as “feel good politically correct” initiatives. They view them as “society dictated” thinking and not “business dictated” thinking. Therefore, a hollowness beomes inherent in the organization between how the old white men leaders attitudinally approached the business, how they viewed behavior and how the organization actually behaved.

Old white men began talking longingly of straight talk, when people knew their place in business and ‘carrot & sticks.’  Old white men started looking at businesses in disdain as vehicles of political correctness and not stark effectiveness. The truth is that many of the old white men simply didn’t buy in to a better way of doing business and, therefore, when put in a corner & challenged revert back to the hollow management style of “do what I tell you to do and shut up.”

To be fair, old white men did not create this hollowness … they simply propagate it.


That is Trump in a nutshell.



All that said.



Old white men can fix what they hath wrought.


Trump’s future administrative band of brothers <and, yeah, he will toss in some random woman to point out as the exception … but … do not be fooled> will be the old white men who make up the key positions in the Trump administration.

And Trump, as the leader of leaders <once again … he represents everything that hollowed out the good of capitalism, branding, profiting, communications … every aspect of that which is bad of this older generation’s business acumen> will be guiding this merry little band of money grubbers with questionable moral compasses.


Be clear.


I am right <and I rarely am so unequivocal on my thoughts>.

All of what I just outlined above is who they are, what they represent and is their legacy to Life and the world.




Until now.


They can seek redemption.



It begins with the baddest hombre of the lot – Trump himself.


And that will be a job for him of which I question whether he is up to the task.


Why do I say that?


Well … while I could point out a dozen examples … there is one above all … he is a hollow winner.

To him, as I have noted far too many times, how you win does not matter … again … does not matter … all that matters is the win.


Want some proof?


Interview on November 11 with WSJ:


“I want a country that loves each other,” Mr. Trump said. “I want to stress that.” He said the best way to ease tension would be to “bring in jobs.”


Asked whether he thought his rhetoric had gone too far in the campaign, the president-elect responded:


“No. I won.”


That is Trump in a nutshell.


He doesn’t care about the hateful things that he says, or who he hurts or how he won on any dimension or aspect … all Trump cares about is winning.



Trump could hollow out the United States as long as he wins.


And, I imagine, if he makes himself/his family richer in the process … he will declare himself a winner.


Redemption can only be found when he sees that wins are better when they are full rather than hollow.


This is going to not only be a challenge to him but to his merry band of soulless brothers because he, and they, will say anything, do anything, threaten anyone just to attain ‘the win.’


They inherently do not care about a ‘better America’ from a soul perspective nor do they care about any aspect of ‘being a better person’ but solely attach ‘better’ with wealth, importance and wins.


My concern?


Trump may be the most hollow presidential candidate in the history of the US but, more importantly, he is building an administration of hollow old white men.


I certainly understand that the ‘American Dream’ of equal opportunity, independence, and upward mobility seems like a false dream to many USA citizens.


I certainly understand that many Americans place the blame on an ineffective political system and government.


I certainly understand that it all feels like an overarching ‘stagnancy.’


But I do not believe ‘hollowness’ is the path to greatness. It certainly has not helped us reach greatness up to this point.

And, therefore, we do run a risk because we are now led by a hollow someone with a hollow platform, hollow plans, hollow skills, hollow dignity, hollow composure and no soul <that I have been able to identify>.




“9/11 never forget

11/9 always regret”

America’s new motto



white nonsense racismBut … redemption is at hand.


Old white men created the problems and … well … as so well said in the movie The Return of the Pink Panther … “you set a thief to catch a thief” … they can reverse the problem in one fell swoop.






Let’s be serious.

They aren’t seeking redemption … they will be seeking to actively propagate the belief they know more than anyone else and that their old white man way is the best way.


This administration will more likely than not remind us that old white men have no clue with regard to a greater future.




Because I do not want to be a complete pessimist.


Here is where all these old white men will get something right.




I said back in one of my past pieces that Trump is a doer.

And he wants tangible shit that he can point to as “mine.” traffic-hurry-disconnectd-going

Combine that with the fact politicians haggle over meaningless shit so much they would have half-assed a meaningful infrastructure initiative. And, yes, even Clinton wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to do it the way it should be done.


Trump and the old white men will do it and they will do it the right way.


It will be hard to swallow budgetwise.


It will be hard to swallow politically.


It will be hard to swallow in a number of ways.


But they will shove it down our throats like our mothers did with beets when we are young telling us it will be good for us … and it tasted horrible … but it was good for us.


It will be good for is economically, country esteem and … oddly <because I do not think “fair” fits anywhere in anything these old white men do> should feed into a general sense of ‘fairness.’


If there will be one thing good that comes from all of this, my guess is that it will be infrastructure.



In the end.


............ Trump and his Cabinet ...........

………… Trump and his Cabinet ………..

I will state, unequivocally, that this is the last stand of the old white men.


It can be Custer’s Last Stand or it can be like the founding fathers standing after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


Redemption can be found in finding independence from what hollow things got them to where they are today.


And before anyone unequivocally states I am completely loony that there is any hope — they have poster childs of their own.


Andrew Carnegie, Nelson Rockefeller, J. Paul Getty.


Relatively heinous business men of their own time … who sought redemption later on in Life.


This is a unique time in history in which business, country and politics have intersected.


This is a unique time for old white men to right the wrongs of all they have wrought up to this point.


Let us hope they see the opportunity of the moment and rise to it.


I certainly hope, as an old white man myself, that they seek redemption … for the sake of all of us old white men … if not the country itself.


===== addendum ====trump cabinet mostly men mostly white

2 months have passed since I posted this and posited Trump would lean heavily on old white men, because he is an old white man, to build his cabinet.

How right was I? As The Independent stated:  Donald Trump’s cabinet will have more white males than any other president since Ronald Reagan.


This is truly the last stand of the old white man. And we can only hope they are seeking redemption for a business generation they hollowed out.


the author is a later 50something white guy with a general disdain for how his generation of business people warped the good in business and how it has failed society, in general, and a huge advocate for winning the right way, positive capitalism and young people.

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Enlightened Conflict