Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tazi’s Corner #55 – Potential vs. Practice (A Labor Day Lesson)

Dear Readers:

I am   not a very political kitty, nor do I intend to become so; the purpose of this feature is not to judge, but to observe. However, I DO keep up on the political goings-on of state and country (I am an astute kitty!) and one thing I have observed is how dreadfully partisan politics has become. Why just this morning I was reading the Editorials over my Mommie’s shoulder when I read that a minority faction of the GOP (I will let you guess which one) has suggested a government shutdown in order to prevent the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) from being put into practice. This idea is Plan B, since almost 40 Congressional votes to repeal the act have been taken and gone down in flames. Now, I could rail about how Congress has more important things to do than take symbolic votes that they know will fail in order to curry favor with wealthy donors rather than do the actual work that is required to keep this country moving, but I won’t. Instead, I decided to look at the bigger picture and ask:

Are they crazy? How far up their butts are their heads that they can’t see how this plan would harm the average American? I’m a cat, and even I can see how this would affect me: Since the USDA is not considered an “essential service” food inspections would have to stop until the government started up again. Am I the only one who remembers the rash of animal deaths from infected pet chow? Do you trust your food provider to keep the strictest of standards without government oversight or do you think a government shutdown might prove a good reason to go back to growing your own food? (Locovores, feel free to chime in on this in the comments section on the validity of potential vs. practice on this concept). Now to my title point:

I often hear how someone will like (or dislike) something when it is merely an idea – something potential – but will rail against it (or champion the cause for it) one it has been put into practice. A relevant example would be Mitt Romney’s views on Mass Health and the mandatory health insurance act that he helped to pass in the state of Massachusetts when he was governor there, but now denounces as something bad. This program is the very program upon which “Obamacare” is based, and it seems to be working quite well. In fact, the fears that employers would potentially layoff employees rather than offer health insurance has proven false in practice; the truth of the matter is that there have not been increased layoffs due to mandatory health insurance laws and more employers are now offering employees health insurance than in the past ( confirms it!). The cost of the program does not appear to be bankrupting the state; in fact, the Massachusetts economy is flourishing. Businesses have not left the state looking for greener pastures just over the state borders in Rhode Island (although I wish they would). As in the past, many Rhode Island business owners continue to set up shop in Massachusetts for its favorable business climate.

Several years ago I hopped in my Tazi Sack and attended a Meet the Candidates night at which candidates for the Rhode Island governorship were speaking. One candidate (who has a Masters Degree in Taxation, so you know he is well-educated!) was arguing that in order to bring back our economy we need to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. While personally I think this idea had great potential – no more “Made in China” tags on textiles! – I realized right away it would not work in practice. The Chinese have government sponsored health care, eliminating this expensive cost to manufacturers. Many manufacturing plants also offer employees housing, just like the American mill owners once did, as a part of their salary. While I am not suggesting we go back to the days when Americans sold their souls to the company store, I am suggesting that we need to think of some creative ways to compete with Chinese manufacturers; ideas that will work in practice and not just as a potential. Once upon a time union leaders had some great ideas on how to make both employees and business owners happy. Are there any great negotiators left? Or is it the business owners who have sold their souls this time around? (Tune in next Sunday for more thoughts on this debate!).

This Labor Day, I think we all owe it to ourselves and our country to try. Try what, you ask? Exactly. Just try. So often we are afraid to leave our comfort zone because it means putting the potential into practice, a time during which the hopeful risk failure and the naysayers risk being proven wrong. Try anyway. Then, try again. You will never get the taste of failure out of your mouth if you don’t work to overcome it. (My Mommie loves to tell her Chemistry students how she failed the subject back in high school because it shows that failure can be replaced with success the second time around).

Don’t like legislation that Congress has passed? Try to give it time, to see if it will work before you try to change it. Then, if it is the utter disaster you predicted (based upon nothing more than your political and/or moral beliefs), work to change it – not through empty and poorly researched rhetoric, personal opinion, or symbolic votes that you know will fail but through grassroots efforts to motivate and affect change.

Hoping for a promotion at work? Try taking a class that will make you more marketable. Start by trying to fill out the financial aid forms, if money is what is holding you back. Start by walking into the school’s Academic Assistance Center, if academic ability is what is keeping you from trying. The excuse that you lack the time or that there is a scheduling conflict has been made moot by the advances in distance learning programs.

This Labor day, vow to put your potential into practice. Take risks; it is individual efforts that came together in the form of a collective goal that built this country, let’s not let fear of the potential cause it to crumble.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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