Woody Allen once said, “More than any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
As I hesitantly filled in the last remaining bubble on my ballot this morning, the one that has been vacant while the others have been completed for several days, I felt the weight of the crossroads Woody Allen spoke of. I wasn’t thrilled with my choices. For a long time now, it seems that we vote more against someone or something rather than for someone or something.
I would consider myself an informed voter. I have spent hours learning about the issues and candidate’s positions and revised positions. I have watched debates, read commentary and opinion, and still was undecided. I have listened to friends and neighbors express their thoughts. I agreed with some and disagreed with others. In the end, I found myself agreeing with some positions of the candidates and disagreeing with some positions of the candidates. In my mind, there was no clear favorite. I could support some of what each would do and complain about the rest.
I am reminded of a story of a parent whose teenagers wanted to go to something that would mostly be good but have some inappropriate things there. The parent made a batch of brownies with the normal recipe but added just a little bit of a secret ingredient. The teens began eating, loving the brownies until the parent told the teens that the secret ingredient was just a little bit of dog poo. Just a little bit can spoil the batch. There are great things and good things about the policies and visions of each candidate but there also seems to be something that doesn’t “taste” right in their recipes that leaves me not wanting to “eat” any of it.
In the end, I ignored the candidates all together and looked solely at the platform and policies they propose in hopes that they will actually do what they say they will and voted for those ideals overall that I think will be best for our community, my family and me.
As I dropped my ballot into the mailbox, I said a little prayer for our country, state and communities.
I heard from many sides that a vote for so and so will take our country to hell. I wrote in my journal when I was in college, “The problem with a one-way ticket to hell is that you can’t turn around until you get there. With a ticket to hell that has a lot of stops, you travel slower and can turn around before you arrive. Unfortunately, not many of the frequent stop tickets are sold.” Our country has a ticket with frequent stops. Each election gives us the opportunity to assess where we are, where we are headed and change direction if we don’t like where we are going. Regardless of the outcome of this election, we will adjust and hopefully correct our destination together.
In our lives we are often presented with problems that require a solution or set of solutions. Sometimes the solution is clear and at other times, it is not. When it is not, what are we to do?
Scott Adams, the Dilbert comic strip creator, once wrote in an article for the Wall Street Journal (Weekend Edition 1/29-30/2011) an idea that has stuck with me in part due to its absurdness but also because it works. He said:
“I spent some time working in the television industry, and I learned a technique that writers use. It’s called ‘the bad version.’ When you feel that a plot solution exists, but you can’t yet imagine it, you describe instead a bad version that has no purpose other than stimulating the other writers to imagine a better version.
For example, if your character is stuck on an island, the bad version of his escape might involve monkeys crafting a helicopter out of palm fronds and coconuts. That story idea is obviously bad, but it might stimulate you to think in terms of other engineering solutions, or other monkey-related solutions. The first step in thinking of an idea that will work is to stop fixating on ideas that won’t. The bad version of an idea moves your mind to a new vantage point.”
Getting past the ideas we know won’t work will allow us to think of solutions that will.
I have often wondered what ideas or solutions would be generated for a big problem we haven’t seemed to solve if presented to a kindergarten class. Their brains haven’t yet learned all that we consider impossible. While some of their ideas would obviously be impossible, some of them may have only been deemed impossible and could spur new thoughts and solutions.
As we examine the bad version solution to solving our problems, we are able to move forward and focus on what will work.
This blog allows you to experience the raw, gut wrenching drama of human conflict through accounting in each of its three stages: preparing to do battle, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.