Many times in our lives we will be confronted with a situation where the messenger and the source of the message are grossly distanced from one another. There is not a person who will live a full life in modern society without experiencing this in one way or another. But I think that its so ubiquitous that people don’t give it the important care and observance that it demands.
If you ever find yourself sitting in front of a computer that is locking up and you want to falcon punch right through the screen you have experienced this phenomenon in the comfort of your own home, or perhaps in a library, or in a park. Mobile technology lets us take this interesting little disconnect with us anywhere.
The screen never did anything wrong, though – it is merely a servant of the tower that is feeding it input. It cannot deviate from this input in very many ways – most of which require your direct feedback. A broken pixel or (as I’ve experienced) a screen that loses its lighting are unique exceptions but the vast majority of hate a screen gets is because of some ill deed deep down in the tower.
So to when you are dealing with customer service agents or other employees at a large company (or even small companies). You walk into the store and interact with a monitor, the employee, and they give you feedback that has been certified and fed to them. In most of my experiences people don’t get angry with the CEO of a company or the store itself – they instead lash out at the employee standing before them.
Some people try to circumvent this system by demanding a manager but the reality in many cases is that the person you’ll be reaching is just a slightly better dressed version of the last screen you sat in front of. The people who actually have the authority to make major changes or concessions to you are never going to actually bring themselves down to that level. That’s the beauty of being the tower – the cords are so long and your so well hidden that everyone hurls their rage at your screen.
Now to come back around to the title of this post (which I haven’t actually written yet) you have the leader of nations. There are some extremely obvious exceptions to this concept and I’ll allow you to discover those on your own (or to perhaps blurt them out in a rage at your screen). But imagine if you will for a moment the destructive force of a single person versus that of 535.
The President of the United States is going to have power – great power – but they are (I believe) not the source of the degeneration of…oh balls this rhymes…wait I can save this. I do not believe they are the source of the degeneration of our country’s infrastructure and culture. If you think about the system it is beautiful and proven to work at the business level. You take a screen and place it in front of your customers. This screen allows you to do all the things you want to do without repercussions. All the hate you drive up will be force fed onto the plate of that screen.
I suspect the worse [and perhaps least necessary] job in the nation is the White House Press Secretary. Here you have the messenger for the people (the press) and the messenger for the President. This is two levels of disconnection on the political side and one level of disconnection on the population’s side. A remarkable murky world of half answers and general chicanery goes down here. In the end the reporters bite at the ankles of the Press Secretary and they sweat it out until they inevitably quit.
If we really wanted it to be interesting and informative we should require congress to hold rotating press meetings. 5 to 10 members each day answering questions from the press with no screened questions. It might be smart to make it illegal to have secret votes as well. They’ve learned that people will just punch the monitors and that protection needs to end.
When you are looking for the source of your discomfort it is important to not vent at the first thing that you find. Be it a matter of health, a matter of politics, a matter of economics, or even a simple tech problem – don’t settle for the simple way out. In the end you don’t solve the problem and possibly even make it worse. The real culprit gets away completely free and the system will begin anew.
While the line is popularly “Follow the Money.” it does not necessarily literally involve money. Information is incredibly valuable and I suppose it could be considered a currency of its own. In the case of your health or a frozen computer screen though these are not cases of seedy dealings but instead of a paper trail. Each clue leading to the next until the source is laid out in front of you as clear as day.
PS. Not advocating in any way that the President is not doing shady things. I do think however that routinely and actively rotating the members of congress would be so good for the health of the US that people would be stunned by the rate of positive change and the level of change. Presidents change constantly but people say that politics never changes – something else in politics never changes either and that’s likely the problem.