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ACCELERATE OR PERISH

February 16, 2017

In our household a debate is being held on the amount of time spent watching our federal government in action.  Unable to extract myself from the unfolding of the presidential election and inauguration, I told my husband, “This is my super bowl!”  My passion to follow the workings of our government has not diminished after the election.  The president is working at warp speed even without his leadership team fully in place.   The legislative branch is in apparent dysfunction and the courts - well, as we say in Texas, “bless their hearts”.  The question held up for all to view and decide, “Is speed good or bad  - in government?” 

In school I was taught the work of the federal government is slow . . . by design. President Trump does not differentiate business from government.  That has the heads of seasoned politicians and news media spinning – even some on Fox News.

President Trump knows business must respond rapidly in order to compete effectively and survive.  Is government a business?  The execution of government is business – a big, expensive business.

Considering the limits of transportation and communication when our founding documents were deliberated and approved, four years to adopt the Bill of Rights was probably considered “quick”.  That was then.  This is now.  The potential for government to change at lightening speed accelerates exponentially on a daily basis.

Will embracing speed help this country continue to innovate and  “long endure” or “explode”?  George Washington would probably respond to our ability to change rapidly as my grandmother did to the first moon walk.  She merely walked around the room saying “my, my, my.”

Trump supporters are applauding the quick initiation of his campaign promises. We worry the agenda will run head long into the brick wall of “how we have always done things” in Congress.  President Trump did not write “The Art of the Executive Order” and he is using it to accomplish the goals his election mandated.  All the while, the opposition party throws roadblocks as it leaves the room and the Republican legislators appear to dither. 

The checks and balances in place are serving as “restrictors” to the full throttled energy of our new president.  Consider for a moment the constitution less as a platform and more as a tube.  It encapsulates and restricts every decision being made as the executive orders begin to flow.  This constitutional tube serves as a constrictor as it narrows (can you say 9th Circuit Court) to slow an event down but should it also expand to accelerate to move along the agenda in the legislative branch?

Natural material seems to weaken when stretched.  However, new fibers are created daily that have tremendous strength even when they are very thin.  What happens in a new production line when too many items come down the conveyor belt at once – I bet FedEx has solved that problem or have they eliminated the conveyor belt altogether?   So I am re-examining the long held notion that government “slow by design” in the warp speed world in which we live.

As Mayor of a small town on the threshold of 300% population growth in six years, I know I drove my very competent staff “nuts” at the speed at which I wanted things to change and move to prepare for the future.  As a businesswoman, I looked at impending rapid change and knew intuitively that moving slowly diminished the envisioned future.   We had one opportunity to plan for the impending growth or lose the positive potential of the future.

I also have to disclose that I don’t stand much on pomp and ceremony as a regular way of doing the business of government. I gasped as I watched Paul Ryan being anointed as the new Speaker of the House.   I was put off by the pomp and ceremony of his entrance into the House chamber. These are moments focused on something other than the work of the people.

Time spent on things other than execution increases debt and lessens national security.  Republicans, for your salary we expect you to work around the clock to achieve the agenda you were sent to Washington to achieve.  The job does not require you to be “nasty” and it does require you to be persistent and effective. You need to demonstrate the focus, acumen and work ethic of a successful businessperson – or your efforts by comparison will look anemic to the electorate. 

Lack of urgency and obstructionism to change becomes the demise of this great nation we inherited.   Abandon your focus on the past, how things have always been done and extreme ideological differences.  Be remembered for what you accomplished while you held the presidency, the legislature and soon the Supreme Court.  Do your job with the liberty the constitution provides.  Test rockets are blasting off around the world sensing our weakness.  Let not ineptness, inaction and game playing derail you from the destination to make “America Great Again” – we have more to lose than the next election.

- Kathy Seei

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