“Let’s take a break,” said opposing counsel. The court videographer muttered something into his mic and we were off the record. No, this wasn’t a courtroom; it was a conference room. Depositions are just like that. Formal.
While I anxiously waited for the sixth hour of grilling to begin, I calmed my nerves by chatting with the court reporter.
“Did you hear that a couple of big investment firms won the Hostess Twinkies brand auction?”
“Thank God,” she said, “I hoarded as many as I could but I’m almost out …”
Okay, so the truth is we didn’t talk about Twinkies, but I bet a lot of people did. The triumphant comeback of the popular snack food was big news that day. And why not?
With so much going on in this country, so much going wrong with this country, why wouldn’t a tasty lump of flour, sugar, and corn syrup make headlines?
Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty good indicator of why there’s so much going wrong with this country. You’d think we’d have more important things to talk about. Apparently not.
Wait, what am I saying. I bet Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg was devastated. First the return of Twinkies. Then a judge denies the large sugary drink ban he fought so hard for. What a horrible couple of days that must have been for the guy.
OMG, what’s next? The return of Happy Meals to San Francisco? More Chick-fil-A restaurants in Chicago? A comeback for those evil 100-watt incandescent light bulbs?
What a crazy mixed up world this would be if people could actually enjoy a Happy Meal with a large Coke under a bright light.
But then, what else do our political leaders have going on these days? It’s not as if our huge unemployment rate, record $16 trillion debt, terribly weak economy, or 20,000 pages of ObamaCare regulations are a problem. It’s certainly not keeping them up at night.
I mean, why shouldn’t President Obama break the law and be two months late with his federal budget? It’s not like the sluggish economy and record spending are a big deal or anything. The only reason the senate actually released a budget for the first time in four years is because they wouldn’t have gotten paid if they hadn’t. Funny how that works.
At this point you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. What my beef is. It’s simple, really. I’m appalled at the lack of common sense around here. And by “around here,” I don’t just mean Washington D.C. It would be all too easy to just blame the politicians and call it a day.
Besides, that wouldn’t do a damn thing for the simple reason that this is America. We don’t have supreme rulers. Our political leaders didn’t just appear out of thin air. We put them there. We the people voted each and every one of them into office.
And while they -- our elected officials -- are wreaking havoc on our nation, our states, and our cities, all we the people seem to be willing to do is follow along like lemmings with our eyes glued to our iPhones, our Facebook timelines, and Dancing With the Stars.
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I’m upset about the quality of our nation’s leadership, these days. But I’m also upset that we seem to care more about our stuff than we do about what used to motivate us above all else: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
So now you know why I’m upset. Well, I’ve got a solution, as well. It’s simple and it has three parts. Here they are:
Part 1. I would like our political leaders to quit wasting our precious tax dollars and focus on what we the people are paying them to do. I would like them to focus on the one thing that matters: our economy. This isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense. Our economy’s a mess. Quit screwing around and fix it. You guys know what I’m talking about. I know you know.
Part 2. This is not a dictatorship. This is America. We don’t have to live in a partisan, divided nation. We the people hired these bozos. It doesn’t matter which party they salute. If they won’t fix the economy, then vote them out.
More regulations, more divisiveness, more spending, more entitlements, more debt, more lies, more partisan politicking, more nanny state, more environmental nonsense, more mortgaging our children’s future, more fear-mongering, more political correctness, more American mediocrity: vote the bozos out.
No jobs. No economic growth. No common sense leadership: vote the bozos out.
Part 3. Stop occupying yourself with social media and reality TV and pay attention. Look for leaders who don’t divide but unify. Look for leaders who don’t just talk but actually lead. Look for leaders who make sense. Demand leaders who make sense. Common sense.
And when you find them -- when you find what’s becoming all too rare in our entitled, distracted, sound bite culture -- let them know that we need them. Now. Speaking of which, I for one was pretty impressed with the guy who spoke up at the national prayer breakfast with President Obama last month: Dr. Ben Carson. So I’m letting him know. Right here, right now. I’m doing my part. Now you do yours.
Steve Tobak is a management consultant, columnist, former senior executive and author of the upcoming book, "Real Leaders Don't Follow: Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur." Learn more, contact Tobak or follow his new blog at stevetobak.com. Any opinions expressed are those of the columnist.