It’s overcast and cool today–perfect for a visit to the cafe to read the Sunday papers. It was an interesting weekend–I saw 5 really good bands, got some work done, and got divorced.
The letter came yesterday, and it made me sad and introspective, so I’ve been spending some of today thinking through my flaws (or, charitably, challenges), and strengths and opportunities (dear God I’m doing a SWOT analysis on myself! now I feel nauseous 🙂 ).
I’m really thinking a lot about conflict, and what drives me to be a vocal critic.
Van Jones said in a brilliant speech that followed mine (less brilliant or interesting) “Martin Luther King never said, not once, I have a complaint!”.
And that’s instructive.
The critic focuses on the problem. The optimist, the visionary focuses on the desired outcome or state of things.
The criticism is not blame, it’s really identifying a desire to see things improve, or change; it’s actually positive.
I call it the “optimism of dissent“.
But offer enough dissent instead of the vision it represents, and you become, in the eyes of those who know you, a negative person.
No I’m not. 🙂
Sometimes I forget the vision. I might have tired of expressing a better way and having the true naysayers dismiss it as impossible, or difficult, and what they are saying is that they lack the will, or commitment, or energy, or desire, or understanding that things are possible by simply doing them.
There is optimism in my dissent when I say that funding schools through property taxes is insane, unfair, and inequitable (and unsustainable at this rate). I’m optimistic that we will see the error of our ways and design a new way to fund schools, and here are four simple ideas:
- increase the state personal income tax,
- tax on our natural gas pulled from our Commonwealth (note “common” and “wealth”)
- cut the national Defense budget in half
- tax imports from countries that violate trade agreements, like, say, China