I just read Lee Iacocca’s new book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone, tonight and I have to say that there wasn’t anything in there that screamed insight to me. There were facts and information, but all easily google-able. He spent most of the 250 pages bashing Bush. Okay, rightfully so. There is a bandwagon rally now, futile and way too late as it might be. There are countless wrongs that this administration has committed: ignoring the Geneva Convention, ignoring that whole Saudi 9/11 “thang”, Iraq, Halliburton, crimes, crimes, crimes, oil, oil, oil. But it’s all old news. Hell, if all Lee Iacocca can do is gripe, what can the rest of us do?
The one argument the former CEO made that pulled me to his corner (for another minute) was that voting should be a DUTY in a democracy, not just a RIGHT. We should be required to vote and penalized if we don’t - we don’t get to use the child credit on our 1040’s if we didn’t vote in the last election. Something along those lines. I like that idea. We should be responsible. Accountable. I like that idea. But, wait, then there’s that whole popular vs. Electoral College voting dichotomy. 2000, wasn’t it? Popular vote sure didn’t mean much in that election (and I’m not a Gore fan). Even our Dancing With the Stars votes mean something.
Then he turned on me. He had a revelation fairly early in the book that Congress should take a year off and meet at a convention center by a lake to review each bill they have passed in recent years to evaluate its performance. Then, they could cut what isn’t working in favor of those that are.
Are we supposed to believe these people would sit in a room and accomplish anything so good, so beneficial, so logical, so black and white? The same people who spend most of their 97 days (the least amount of time served in US history, by the way) voting for their own raises and pension increases and pork projects in the dead of night? Puhhhleeeez. These people would be comparing hairstylists and drivers and the number of buildings or wings named after them before the first day’s $1,000 lunch was served.
About mid-book, Iacocca touted Joe Biden and John Murtha as his personal friends and high moral examples. Strike two for me. And I thought I’d like you, man.
And then, close to the end of the book, he riled me most of all. He droned on and on about the trillions upon trillions of national debt we have now. Debt to other countries as a result of our government’s shameful, ill intentioned, and completely orchestrated Iraq War. We know, we know.
Yes, I’m pissed off. I believe most of us are pissed off. But if Iacocca has no pull other than to publish a “we’ve heard it all before” bitch fest of a book, what can be expected much from us lowly working class folks?
Apparently a great deal. He then had the gall to call upon Americans to “get off the golf course and do something”. His effort at sounding like a leader was to tell us that we need a leader to tell us that we need to be willing to give back to our country and pay for the rewards of living here.
For something as wonderful as universal health care, for example, we should all be willing to sacrifice - to give up a tax deduction or the cost of a gallon of gas a week or a pothole repair this month. All for the common good of the good ol’ UsofA.
Capital B Bullshit, Mr. Iacocca. Strike three. You’re out. Go ahead and retire (he talks endlessly about how he can’t retire). Nobody will really mind.
Enough. I give more than enough. And what do I get for my investment? Daily, make that hourly, stories of the bazillions of dollars blatantly wasted by my government and its corporate bed buddies. All as some politician or CEO is going to tell me to cut back?
So, to Mr. Iacocca, I say this: Bazillionaires first, Mr. Iacocca, bazillionaires first. And thanks for the book. It oozed leadership.