Complete Society

Ideas and strategies for a sustainable world

A leader that inspires millions

This message from an Obama Regional Field Director is powerful and inspiring.  This country (and the world) needs nothing less than a leader that can inspire this kind of emotion and energy from millions of people.

(Thanks to fivethirtyeight.com for posting this)

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Stay calm – and BE RELENTLESS today. Get everyone motivated, educated, and into the field as quickly and as often as possible…

GET THEM COMFORTABLE WITH A BREAK-NECK PACE. They need to be the cool heads by the time GOTV rolls around…

Report your numbers like clock-work. Call me if you need me. Don’t stop until your last shift is confirmed for Sunday…

Barack really is expecting a lot out us – and there isn’t much else for him to do. He has placed this election in our hands at this point. It’s up to us now. We may never again have our hands on history quite like this again for as long as we live. That makes each hour so so precious. We can slack off, sleep in, and make excuses for the rest of our lives. But today – and for the next 3 weeks… whether we knew what we were getting into or not… we have ended up with people’s lives, livelihoods, and dreams for their children – all dependent on our performance day in and day out. This is our one chance at history… our one chance at perfection. Our one chance to live forever. So today – breathe this in… realize that your grandkids will be reading about you… realize that you will miss this feeling very very soon… and win every single hour.

Proud of you in advance for a big day…

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October 22, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Governance, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

The leader we need: Intelligence, Integrity, Inspiration

Over the last several weeks, the combination of all the economic and political events with my (sometimes frightening) readings on peak oil and climate change has crystallized the connection between this election and our sustainable future.

The person who we want/need as President is the same one the world needs to avert societal collapse caused by hitting the limits of our natural resources. The most important criteria we use to choose this person is the same for both roles.

Broadly, I feel like these criteria fall into three areas:  Intelligence, Integrity, and Inspiration.  I’ll go into more detail on these in upcoming posts but for a quick summary:

  • Intelligence:  The problems and decisions for a President and for sustainability are complex.  These aren’t yes/no questions or simple preferences like white car vs silver car.  The leader we need has to have the sheer brianpower to handle complex questions, balance dozens of competing factors, weigh multiple interlocking tradeoffs, weave subtle nuances together.
  • Integrity: Our country and the world needs someone who is fundamentally dedicated to the common good and sticks to that principle with honesty and transparency.  With the power this person wields comes great responsibility and our only hope is for this leader to have equally great integrity.
  • Inspiration:  The issues facing America and the world aren’t going to be solved top down.  The issues are too big for prescriptive measures from a chosen few.  We need large scale participation in the solution and the only way we get that is if our leader can inspire millions to engage.

Obviously, going into this election year, I was already biased towards the Democratic Party.  But learning what I have about the candidates in the last 6 months and evaluating against these three I’s has really convinced me that Obama is the leader we need.

Notice that the 4th ‘I’ isn’t there: Issues.  More on this later, but first ask yourself, does one or several specific issues matter in the overall global scheme, or is it more important what a candidate’s position on issues says about their character, the other I’s ?

October 11, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Governance, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

What does natural capitalism have to do with politics?

(We’re currently reading Natural Capitalism in one of my Presidio classes)

Natural Capitalism makes a great, rational case for what’s possible. With example after example, it shows that sustainable society can exist if the world system is designed and encouraged to thrive based on some fundamental principles.

As I read each chapter, I keep coming back to the idea that we can’t achieve what’s possible without the government providing the right ground for it to grow.   And that ground needs to rest on systems thinking founded in reason, fact, and science.

Chap. 10 – Agriculture – showed how critical a scientific approach is to growing sustainability
Chap. 11 – Water – could be summed up with the inescapable logic of the bathtub analogy
Chap. 12 – Climate – declared this theme as a section title “In God we Trust; All others bring Data”

So, essentially, we can’t hope to achieve the next Industrial Revolution without a government that makes intelligent, rational decisions for the overall, long term good of the system.

As I’ve said elsewhere, this then becomes a major criterion for choosing who leads the government.  Has a candidate for President shown himself to be a pragmatic, reasonable man who carefully examines the science/facts of a decision and can handle complex, nuanced issues?

The fact that we haven’t had such a leader for 8 years may go a long way in explaining why much of what Natural Capitalism said was possible hasn’t been achieved.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Governance, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Complete Politics – Beneath the noise, look at character

While anyone who knows me knows I’m a liberal voter and a strong supporter of Obama, I’ve mostly tried to resist mixing politics in to the Complete Society blog.  But with the importance of this presidential election and the pivotal role government plays in our hopes for a sustainable future, it seems that separating out politics means I’m not discussing the whole picture that I tell everyone to look at.

So, from now on, you’ll see politics, govt policy and related topics discussed here, but, as with all my posts, I’m going to try a different take, going either bigger picture or deeper dive into the meanings and implications behind the rhetoric and issue positions.

Let’s start with character.  Step past all the surface stuff: race, gender, upbringing, age, religion.  Then step past even the issues: stated positions, experience in specific topics such as foreign policy, years at different levels of government, etc.

Then the first question that goes to the heart of whether this candidate will move our country towards a complete society is: “Will this candidate act for the greater good of our nation and the world?”

To quote Michael Douglas from “The American President”, “It’s entirely about character”.

Wherever they are on whatever issue your care so passionately about, it comes down to whether they authentically put humanity ahead of themselves.  This, fundamentally, is what we need in a President and is a given for anyone working for a sustainable future.

That’s why I came to dislike Hillary Clinton.  Before the primaries, I was neutral on her.  Respected her valiant attempt to fix healthcare in the early 90’s.  Hadn’t tracked her record as a Senator.   But the 2008 primaries showed she would say anything and take whatever position she needed in order to get elected, whether or not it would be good for the country.  The gas tax holiday idiocy was probably the most visible example of this.

This is also at the core of why I hate G W Bush.  I don’t use the word “hate” lightly since there’s almost nobody in the world I hate.  In 2000, I mostly disliked him because he stood for almost everything I was against in govt and I cringed in pain every time I heard him speak.  But over the last 8 years, he made decision after decision that was about him, his religious faith, and his interests instead of what would clearly be the greater good.

Think about this core idea when looking at the current candidates.  My opinions on Obama vs McCain will fill up some upcoming posts.

September 10, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Governance, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment