Friday, October 10, 2008

Presidential Election Thoughts: Our Goal Should Be to Think of Others

Presidential politics are something I don’t discuss – either in writing or in person. But yesterday, in a Yom Kippur sermon, I heard something about the Presidential election that does not come under the category of taking sides. And I want to share this thought with you:

The speaker, a well-known academic, said that in the coming year we need to look outside ourselves; we need to consider the effect of things on others. He urged us that our decision who to choose for President should also be based on the needs and concerns of others and not only on our own needs and concerns.

While he didn’t give examples, I could clearly see what he meant. For example, one candidate’s proposed tax policy might be great for us but not very good for the country as a whole. Given the times, the speaker warned us that we must think of what is often called “the big picture” rather than our miniscule part of that picture.

And there’s something else I’d like to say about the current U.S. economic situation: One of the most important things I learned in my MBA program at Wharton was how perception can actually make things happen. In other words, every time a newspaper headline blares “recession,” that headline adds to the possibility of an actual recession because people act in reaction to that headline.

While I realize that there’s very little chance of stemming the newspaper headlines screaming “recession” and therefore adding to the possibilities of a recession, I do hope that all of us can be careful about what we say in connection with the current U.S. economic situation. We should remember that perception can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. Let’s try not to add fuel to the fire by what we say – or do.

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