Memo From Michael: Celebrating 800 Weeks of Commentaries

First, I need to pause in personal amazement to note that this week’s newsletter achieves a milestone I never thought I’d reach – this is the 800th week that I’ve been publishing my thoughts on just about anything I think about. Eight hundred weeks – that’s more than 15 years. I’ll be turning 70 in a month so it’s a test of my optimism to hope I will be writing for another 15 years. If you find value in my efforts, please write me at I can never get too much approval.

Second, I want to comment on the most recent election. The long, relentless campaigning is finally over. We have a President until the year 2016 and a Congress until 2014. Now it’s our choice whether each of us as citizens will participate and demand that our leaders participate in collaborative thinking and creative problem-solving or,

in the nasty spirit of the campaign, nurse resentments and “my way or the highway” attitudes that will assure gridlock.

In a democracy, every citizen is a public official. That’s a serious responsibility. We can’t simply play the role of partisan spectators, cheering on our champion like a Roman mob at a gladiator battle.

In a democracy, the willingness to compromise does not signal a lack of integrity, but a demonstration of respect and responsibility. It’s a recognition that none of us can have it all our way and that accommodation is essential.

We must tone down the self-righteous rhetoric and insist that our politicians develop reasonable solutions that no one is entirely happy with, but that will make things better, if not perfect. Gridlock caused by intransigent devotion to a particular perspective is irresponsible and self-destructive.

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