Tradition and Change…

When one thinks of tradition our minds wander to scrapbooks and photo albums or old 45’s. It is the glue that gives us comfort in the midst of chaos. It is the security of knowing somehow it worked in the past and it will get us through. It is also a symbol of each generation’s work to sustain the lineage as we pass it on to the next whether they be Xers or millenials. If they accept it we have somehow succeeded. If they toss it back at us it is the ultimate rejection and no one likes that.

 
We are binge watching The Crown and nothing could be more appropriate as we near inauguration day. Brits are justifiably proud of their heritage but as we watch Elizabeth’s reign unfold post WWII, one can see how their intransigence to pomp and ritual might foretell their descent into comparative irrelevance. They all portray painful intellectual snobbery. It is only “They” who can deliver the unwashed masses from desperation. No one else has a clue. Pardon me but didn’t we just see this happen on this side of the pond.

 

As for us Yanks we have chosen a new course….at least some have. As we watch the stuffy and moldy Cabinet room at #10 Downing are not our Congressional halls and Cloak rooms similar? I watch the tottering and unstable Winston and the Ancients of the Senate and House come to mind. As I shout “Get with it, you old fool” at the Netflix, couldn’t that be at C Span as well?

 

His Hairness is shaking things up in lots of ways. I watched parts of the news conference yesterday. I have had just short of contempt for the Fourth Estate lately. With the multiplicity of cable channels it is obvious the true grit reporting has taken a back seat to Nielsen and bottom lines. The fact there is an unwritten code of how the Oval Office is to treat the press is comical. It was raucous, bawdy and probably a symbol of who we are. But have no doubts, things will not settle down quickly. Fasten your seat belts!

 
That is beyond disconcerting to many. Times have been crazy over the last few years. Bubbles have burst starting with the Second Great Depression.Banks and brokerages were the bastions of security and wealth. Now they must humbly submit to “stress tests”.Culturally we are now inclusive of LGBT sexual orientation. Technology has soared at warp speed and left many far behind. We crave consistency and civility but the genie is long out of the bottle.

And in the midst of all this mayhem fear has grown from an occasional thought to foremost in our minds.We worry about our health, global warming, our financial future, kidnapping, murder, molestations, and most importantly will the brass ring be ours whatever our age be? Whoever thought Clemson would beat Bama? The Donald as President Elect? George Soros is rumored to have lost over a billion dollars on that losing bet. Will things ever get back to the way they were? Don’t bet on it

.

Before we become apoplectic at the thought, let’s consider some of the plusses to change. By sheer evolution our world and its inhabitants have adjusted to change. Animals grow wings or gills to obtain food and survive. Cities have grown and provided for their inhabitants both spiritually and monetarily because of new ideas and infrastructure. Robert Moses was a pain in the ass and wild eyed to many but his creation of highways, bridges and parks in the New York metropolitan area was prescient if not brilliant.

 

The Edisons, Bells, Salks, Gates and Jobs were considered out of the mainstreams of science. If someone had not sought the secrets of the genome or the marvelous complexity of fiber optic cable where would we be? Tennis rackets, golf clubs, composite materials for planes and cars would never have occurred in a pleasant but dowdy existence.

Sure there are downsides. People used the marvel of the atom to create death and destructive capabilities. The internet has become a vehicle for theft, terrorism and malice. Institutions like banks and religion have become suspect. We have made a business out of making people well. Cures benefit the stock price. Oh yeah as a by product they help people too. But all this is maybe because we have been all to happy to derive the benefits with personal regard rather than seeing the ultimate outcomes for mankind.

I think a huge part of the problem is that we think tradition and change exist separate from one another. If you believe in one you are an old fart and if you want to blow things up intellectually of course that means you are a radical or terrorist. We need both. We seem unable to accept that.

I really chuckle when I think of where we are today. The right has taken to Trump. His unorthodoxy is playing well at the country clubs and the cooth squads are conveniently looking the other way. The progressives are trying to retain the status quo and the elements of creativity and innovation at least in government are looked askance. Fascinating isn’t it?

In golf they say every shot makes someone happy. So goes our body politic. Our country is in a bit of a maelstrom right now and that is okay. I am not an anarchist but I really do believe we have to shake things up. We might be greatly surprised or sadly disappointed but rather than cataclysmic it is a thing called life.Somehow we will make it. We always have and that is our tradition. On the other hand change is what has made us what we are as a dynamic and incredible nation. The new show is about to start. I am going to get a big bag of popcorn and watch. Care to join me?

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Change Is Hard Because People Crave What They Already Like. People as whole are reluctant to try new things be they food, books or travel.

Nearly 60 percent of projects aimed at achieving business change do not fully meet their objectives. Harvard Business Review … The brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail. Doesn’t mean we can’t try.

It is our country’s tradition to have tail gate parties, watch Super Bowl commercials, give Presidential Turkey pardons, have Black Friday and Ground Hog days. In the South we give people crazy names. In the Northeast there are about 60 different dialects. In the West there are fruits and nuts. It is us. Maybe the Donald will give himself a Turkey Pardon.

Prince Charles’ personal valet, Michael Fawcett, used to squeeze his toothpaste onto his toothbrush for him.He is definitely the most high-maintenance of the royals: he employs well over 100 staff including chefs, cooks, footmen, housemaids, gardeners, chauffeurs, cleaners, and not one, not two, but three personal valets whose sole responsibility is the care of their royal master’s extensive wardrobe. A serving soldier polishes the prince’s boots and shoes every day, and Charles’s valets iron the laces of his shoes whenever they are taken off. Probably not tradition but I couldn’t resist.

2 thoughts on “Tradition and Change…

  1. At last, my dream job…Prince Charles’s shoelace valet. I’d sign up if it came with a guaranteed nightly Hendrick’s martini! Cheers TTG!

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