wins, winning & the America identity

 trump win at all costs

 

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“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

 

Steve Maraboli

 

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“You will find out who you are not a thousand times, before you ever discover who you are.”

 

—–

William Chapman

 

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Yeah.

 

I have to comment on Donald Jr agreeing to meet with someone who clearly stated they were part of a Russian initiative to support Trump and may have trump win play the game of thronesinformation <illegally gained or legally gained?> to sink Hillary Clinton.

 

I have to comment because this, to me, in a nutshell captures the essence of what Trump represents and what we in America need to think about as part of a soul searching exercise.

 

From my standpoint it boils down to one question of what is more important to Americans — a) being legally correct <or just okay> or <b> being morally okay.

 

Trump ran a ‘win at any cost/no rules’ campaign <which is exactly how he runs his business> and … well … we Americans need to decide whether this represents who and what we are.

 

I say that because it seems like we continuously miss the bigger issue as we turn ourselves into pretzels either trying to prove some criminal guilt or, conversely, prove criminal innocence.

 

While that is important from a legal standpoint America has never stood for “playing within the fringes of the rules” <let alone ‘no rules’>.

 

Sure.

 

Some do but 90+% of Americans abhor people who win by some technicality or skate by on some cringe worthy fringe legal basis.

 

I would suggest people think about this Trump Jr. meeting in one of these ways:

 

  • Someone steals a test and offers it to your high school child <and I believe West Point has a clear point of view on this>

 

  • Someone steals private photos off someone’s phone and posts them online <or offers to sell them to you exclusively>

 

  • Someone steals the other high school team’s game plan and offers it to you before the game <and you tell your players how you got it?>

 

Or how about this one for adults …

 

  • Someone steals a patented process from some company and they offer to give it to you so they lose their exclusivity <and you can compete directly> — note: this is against the law

 

 

Let me be clear.idea_stealing

 

Sure.

 

It happens in the business world. We do some crappy shit on occasion.

Mostly we do it behind closed doors and don’t tell anyone because we know it is either legally suspect and absolutely morally an embarrassment.

 

We certainly do not go home and sit our children down at the dinner table and say “this is the right way to do it.”

 

My point is that “winning” is not just about that moment in time, that game and that competition. It has ripples in which … well … our youth watches, learns and decides how they want to play the game for the rest of their Life.

 

It is absurd to believe “I won” justifies all behavior and justifies the lessons being taught to those who will follow.

 

And Americans know this in their hearts if not their souls.

 

business-dunce-stupid-brand-marketingI personally think the Trump clan is free of any morals and just think in terms of power and in terms of making deals for their own financial benefit, not to serve the country’s strategic interests, and the win is all that matters <at any cost and in any way>.

 

I do not loathe Trump or anyone who cruises on the Trump ship of fools but I loathe the absence of integrity, dignity and, in general, their incapability to win by playing by the rules.

 

I do not loathe Trump or anyone who cruises on the Trump ship of fools but I loathe the fact they believe their hollow way of conducting themselves will make America great again <and all it will do is make it hollow>.

 

That said.

 

I have debated what makes America exceptional, or great, with dozens and dozens of people. Most find it either odd, or interesting, in that while I acknowledge morality and freedoms and democracy I tend to focus more on a pragmatic aspect – how you play the game of Life & business in America.

 

Or maybe I could call it “freedom to win” because in America we foster a belief that how you win matters therefore anyone can win.

The corollary to that thought is when something becomes “rigged” that translates into “some people are not playing the game the American way” therefore we get angry.

 

I argue it this way because … well … it is a simplistic idea, easy to grasp, for an everyday schmuck like me … and I tend to believe most of us every day schmucks don’t want to be too philosophical or intellectual.

 

By the way. My belief in this American identity isn’t something I just pulled out of my ass.

 

The most pragmatic truth about America and its identity is that America’s good person what you do not what you sayfounding fathers wanted to do shit <Just Do It>. And they realized that if the country offered everyone the opportunity to do shit, and as much doing as they could, the country itself would prosper … and everyone would prosper in their “pursuit of happiness” <which is inevitably grounded in some vision of doing some shit>.

 

In order to create this equal opportunity to ‘do’ within the “we the people” … they established the American way to play the game. In this game we could choose captains and coaches if we wanted but the foundation was that on day one anyone could become a captain or coach if they wanted … or they could just pursue happiness of doing shit however they wanted.

 

Rigid constitutionalists will most likely hate what I am going to say next but, to me, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were developed as kind of our league’s rules of the game & engagement. Not to be taken literally but to establish a foundation from which all the players and teams could compete fairly.

 

I would note here that whether you like the way I am saying this or not … if I were a betting man I would put a lot of money on the belief the everyday schmuck would be more likely to ‘get’ this than all the politicians blathering about rights & privileges & constitutionally legal intellectual mumbo jumbo.

 

To be clear.

 

Trump doesn’t believe this nor do I believe he would even understand half this shit I just typed … but he would instinctually abhor the idea as he is the ultimate spokesperson for “win at any cost.”

 

And now is where I am gonna get in trouble with a lot of people because I am going to bring up Obama.

 

I believe there needs to be a counterbalance to the Trump “just win” megaphone and there needs to be a voice of clarity for “how you win matters is not just a theoretical discussion but it is actually a pragmatic discussion of what is at the core of who and what America is.”

 

And I cannot think of anyone better than Obama to frame that narrative – not as anti-Trump but to pose the challenge to America.

 

its a big complicated world obama

I do believe Obama has an opportunity to frame the narrative with regard to a discussion which becomes the foundation in every home, business, government and playing field – the American identity. But, in my eyes, he cannot, and shouldn’t, do it under moral imperatives or “what is right thing to do” but do it in the cultural identity of America which is “doing.”

To me it is the intellectual spin of Trump’s dumbed down version of the discussion. Trump talks wins but we should be talking about how we win because it gets to the idea of who and what America is and not simply results and ‘doing outcomes.’

 

What Trump doesn’t understand is that America is an idea and not a bunch of transactions. He believes if he can create enough ‘positive transactions’ that people will view him as a success, and America as a success, because the balance sheet will say “success.” This treats America like a commodity with no ‘value’ <which, by the way, is not an expression of exceptionalism just ‘exceptional doers’>.

 

We are not a bunch of transactions and jobs … we are an idea. And, to me, that idea is “winning the right way.”

 

The American identity has always been about doing shit the right way and winning the right way. America identity winningThat is our sweet spot and it defines how we think we are exceptional <at least to the nonintellectual everyday schmucks like me>.

We are forgiving, slightly, to those who win on some technicality or ‘technically legal’ thing … but even then … we debate whether it was winning by being smarter … or by ‘cheating’ in some way.

 

Regardless … this trump winnerdebate inevitably ends with a general feeling that the win “just wasn’t completely right’ <or … “it wasn’t a good win”>.

 

You can get away with this on occasion.

 

Someone who always wins on technicalities or does shit always just within what could be construed as legal is always a “shady winner” or someone “gaming the system.” We don’t like these people.

 

And then, of course, there are others who play by non – American rules. They win on occasion but it is only because they couldn’t win by playing by our rules and within our behavioral boundaries.

 

That is who and what we are and Trump is challenging that.

 

I believe we would all benefit from this debate.

 

No.

 

I KNOW we would all benefit from this debate.

 

Everyone.

 

I admit. I am banking on the fact Trump loses in this debate and Republicans and Democrats will win by having the debate <and therefore America wins>.

 

Now.

 

Back to Obama.

 

He becomes the “Framer in Chief.” Framing the well needed discussion of America identity … but in different terms than what we have tried before. It is feel the fear and do it anywaynot about moral superiority but rather digs deep into the ‘code of who and what America is.’ We are the “just do it” country <I encourage everyone to pick up Clotairre Rapaille’s “The Culture Code”, avoid the wacky aspects and hunker down on the insightful parts>.

 

We are impatient, we like to do and we are perpetually dissatisfied. And, yet, all that said … our exceptionalism resides in HOW we do shit. In our heart of hearts we know that anyone can ‘do’, but we Americans ‘do it the right way’ therefore our outcomes, our work and our ‘wins’ are better and more exceptional because we do them the right way.

 

We forget this, just as any sports team who hasn’t won a frickin game in forever, when some asshat comes along and says we are losers and we need to do whatever it takes to win.

 

But ‘just win’ goes counter to what any high school football coach teaches his team, what any parent teaches their kid, what every general instills in their soldiers, what every good business leader cultivates within their organization … we recognize that in the end wins are hollow if we haven’t played the game right, it was fair and we didn’t cheat <or lower ourselves to the way cheaters and assholes play>. We play tough, we will always be competitive and we will ‘do’ and win ON OUR TERMS.

 

Trump encourages us to let others define America’s terms.

 

What a dick.

 

America’s wins should be better than everyone else’s wins because … well … we are the shining light on the hill for an impatient, doing, perpetually dissatisfied way of winning the right way.

 

I believe Obama could frame this discussion better than anyone I know <even say-do-feel-think-lead-competent-businessme … and I am passionate on this topic>.

 

But he has to do this as an ex-president and not a democrat.

 

As a president, with 8 years under his belt, he has to be cognizant of the fact everything he says from here on out will be judged against “was what he did best for 330 million people or just Democrats.” Therefore to step back in he cannot be a Democrat but rather an ‘advocate for what is best for 330 million people’ messenger. That doesn’t mean he cannot frame the message so that Democrats have an advantage but it is almost like he has to establish the game and then let Trump, Republicans and Democrats duke it out on the field <and let the best player win>.

 

That said.

 

To me.

“How you play the game, and win, matters” <or, “winning at any cost is not American”> is an effective framing of American identity which puts Republicans at a disadvantage because they will get trapped between what they want to say <and what I imagine many of them truly believe> and Trump.

 

I also think it provides Democrats an easy way to reframe what Trump wants to do but because he is too stupid they can frame it in a way that appeals to tangible outcomes, results, programs & policies rather than simple platitudes.

 

For example.

 

Trump is too stupid to realize that he could talk about healthcare in economic terms instead of getting into that wretched ‘is healthcare a right or a privilege’ discussion.

America is an economic engine. And as any business owner will tell you the more days healthy happy employees are at work the more productive they are <and the more productive the company is>. Business owners would kill to limit economic benefits productivity of healthcareabsenteeism and increase productivity when an employee is at work.

The day I can get all 180 employees, or 18, at work, 100% healthy, is the day my business is most productive.

 

That is what healthcare does.

Extrapolate that out to America itself. The day I can get 180 million working people at work, 100% healthy, is the day that America is at its most productive. While healthcare is certainly a moral issue it is also an economic productivity issue. If everyone in America is healthy, than our economy is healthy.

 

 

Frame the discussion this way and it gets us stop talking about ‘mean’ and ‘cruel’ and start talking benefits.

 

This is an excellent example of insuring that everyone in America has a chance to win by playing the game the right way <and insuring someone doesn’t win simply because of a technicality>.

 

Beyond that one example … how you play the game matters extends into education, opportunity in general, how government conducts itself, the military, well, someone smarter than I can bring the idea to Life in any tactical & policy discussion you want.

And I bet Obama could frame it better than I ever could.

 

This idea also plays into an overall theme of “u pluribus unim” … if we all have opportunities, maximize our potential by playing the game right when given an opportunity and working hard, the many ‘ones’ doing it the right way means “the one” <America> is great <or exceptional>. Therefore … “Great” is defined not by some nebulous Trumpism but rather by something anyone and everyone can do, talk about and judge others by <and Trump will inevitably judged harshly on this standard>.

 

Uhm.

 

This idea comes at a cost to Obama if Democrats or he embraces it. He would have to reflect upon his 8 years critically and preemptively, and not defensively, note where “I focused on the win too much and forgot that we, in America, do it the hard way and play the game right.” He would have to eat some executive order shit and maybe some other things.  Yeah. He could surely point to one or two “I won on a technicality” with some solid rationale for why but for this framing to be solidly grounded he will have to eat some stuff he did.

 

But you know what? America tends to give you one “get out of jail free” card … just one … if you handle it right <and Obama most likely could>.

 

But.

This is not a “here is what Democrats stand for” message but rather an “identity of America” discussion of which he is framing.

This is not anti Trump but rather … “look, we are talking about a lot of transactions and tactics and jobs and policies and programs not a lot about how we should go about doing it so that everyone has a chance of winning.”

 

This is not an anti-Trump position. This is a “decide who you want to be America and judge your leaders based on who you want to be” message. We need this discussion and debate. I worry that the soul of America is under attack and I am banking on the fact what is right can beat what is wrong as long as they both enter the playing field – someone just needs to bring them both there.

 

Yeah.

I think Obama … and Michelle too … could deliver this in a way that would create dinner table, hallway and classroom discussion for months to come.

And I think this is the kind of message they would be powerful delivering … to moms, dads, teachers, coaches, programmers, blue collar workers, students, etc.

 

Anyway.

 

Trump Jr behavior, which I think is indicative of Trump Sr behavior, reminded me once again that HOW we do shit matters.

This is about norms, and normal behavior, versus simple legality.

 

We set out explicit rules and guidelines and sometimes these appear as laws.

They are meant to showcase a red line for behavior.

 

And, boy oh boy … we sure do bitch about how many laws we have and how many regulations are in place and how many rules we face that curb our success. The government is most likely the main villain in this story.

 

laws profit versus ethicalSadly … most of us act like government sits around coming up with rules and laws and regulations simply to stifle freedom in our lives – personal and business.

 

It may behoove us to think a little more about why those rules , regulations and laws came about and how we still have some room to navigate that which is a fairly large playing field called “norms.”

 

Norms, in my pea like brain, reside inside a buffer zone which lies in the area just prior to reaching one of these red lines. They are usually unstated and they are usually simply expected for those who uphold some integrity and they are usually just done by people who have some inner sense of ‘right.’

 

Trump reminds me of some people who I have worked with who have constantly suggested “but it is legal.” And, 90% of the time, I have felt uneasy about what we were about to do. Not that it was illegal but rather it <a> tested what I would consider a norm and <b> it was clearly in that buffer zone that got too close to the red line.

 

Yeah.

There will always be people who will dance on the icy brink of the red line and these same people will dance while singing “it is legal.”

 

It is a hollow song to sing.

 

Let’s just say there are two basic types of people:

 

  • Those who see norms, and normative behavior, and see it as guidelines for right or wrong <and subsequently check laws, rules and regulations to be sure all is good & legal>. In other words behavior doesn’t have to be dictated by some rule or law but more often than not “what seem like the right thing to do.”

 

  • Those who see “anything that could be deemed legal”, or, conversely, “if it is not expressly forbidden than it is permissible”. These people don’t ever ponder “what seems like the right thing to do” because, to them, if it is legal it is right. In other words … if bad actions do not amount to crimes than it is good enough to do to earn a win/reward.
......... choose to be strong ...

……… choose to be strong …

 

 

That is actually the choice America needs to make with regard to its identity – which represents who and what we are.

 

This is a moment. A moment for America to look in the mirror and decide what kind of person they want to be.

 

 

All I know is I do not want to look in the mirror and see Donald Trump Jr. looking back at me.

 

But that’s me.

 

Everyone needs to make their own decision … I just think someone needs to stand up an tell everyone “now is the time we all need to look in the mirror.”

 

 

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Written by Bruce