Turkey Industry Magazine Calls for an End to Thanksgiving
I bet you would be surprised to read that headline.
Most businesses seem to have trade journals that address the interests of industry participants, host conferences and facilitate the exchange of news and ideas.
Generally, they attract little notice outside of their niches. How often, for example, do you find yourself wondering about what The Daily Bond Buyer might have to say about this or that? In one of my careers, that was a must read.
Politics is no exception, though many of the leading publications that cater to political insiders have reached wider audiences. Think Politico, Axios and Real Clear Politics. Maybe it is because politics has been injected into every aspect of everyone’s life?
One of the cardinal rules for trade publication success is not to criticize your industry. It might not be absolutely necessary to go to Harvard Business School to think up that strategy. In other words, you might not expect Turkey Industry Magazine to question the importance of Thanksgiving.
I suppose there are some Twitter dimwits who will think that actually happened so this is the moment for the dumbest sentence in this story. For the record, Turkey Industry Magazine did not call for the end to Thanksgiving. It was simply a way to attract your overworked eyes to a trade publication that just did more or less the same thing.
It is that significant.
The other day, Politico’s Playbook morning newsletter led with this story, which I quote in its entirety.
A NATION THAT’S HUNGRY FOR HEALING, searching for answers, tired, fed up, angry and confused is going to get a resounding answer from Washington pretty soon:
WE CAN’T FIX THIS.
AT SOME POINT OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS OR WEEKS, the collective eyes of America will shift here, to the nation’s capital, to see if any political leaders have the faintest clue how to heal a country knocked off kilter by protests and riots fueled by racial and economic inequality.
HERE’S WHAT THEY WILL FIND:
A CONGRESS that’s stodgy at best, and slow and indifferent at worst.
A PRESIDENT who is focused on his base, and hardly willing to dwell a beat to acknowledge that many of his fellow Americans feel targeted by a government that is supposed to protect them. When he is criticized — as he was Monday by the governor of Illinois — he goes on the attack.
AND A POLITICAL SYSTEM that’s uniquely ill equipped and ill-suited for quick action — or, frankly, for action of any kind.
POLITICIANS OFTEN SAY the electorate moves quicker than elected officials — and this era has proven that adage true. How can one expect that a Congress that cannot settle on something relatively simple — how to conduct its own business during a pandemic — will be able to quickly enact policies to help reverse decades of feelings of injustice?
LET’S PAUSE A SECOND TO REVIEW some of the other simmering crises Washington has failed to address: budgets that are out of control, gun laws that both parties agree need changing and an immigration system widely seen as broken.
NOW, the very same people who can’t agree on how to tackle these issues are going to have to come up with solutions to a far more insidious problem: social and economic pressure that has been building up for decades, leading to the spasm of anger Americans are witnessing on their streets today.
CONGRESS IS FILLED WITH lawmakers who, by and large, understand the struggles of contemporary America only in the abstract. The institution is led by 70- and 80-somethings who are far wealthier than the average American. Politicians are cloistered by staff and protected by handlers. Many barely know how to use their phones. They spend their days glad-handing and raising money.
PEOPLE FEEL HOPELESS. They will look to Washington for answers, and — if past is prologue — they’ll get none. America’s story over the next few years is how it erases 2020 and what caused it. That story has not yet begun to be written.
Politico, a leading trade publication of the political industry (and widely read by its practitioners), just described most of what it covers as unfit for purpose.
Pause, reflect, absorb.
It is true.
The United States is closer to wherever its maximum debt can be and, unless we change course, we will enter the “Land of No” in which elected officials will have to say that dreaded word often. Unable to make any decisions at all, our government simply says “yes” to everything and borrows a huge percentage of what it costs.
Perhaps we will do something wise and conduct rigorous autopsies on a whole range of institutions from public education, to policing, to obstacles to upward social mobility, to capital formation to self-governing and politics.
For me, “rigorous” would mean apolitical and results driven. Not talking points.
My breath is not held.
I spent good chunks of several careers selling things. I always wanted my product to be better because it made it easier to sell. That does not seem like the worst idea in the world.
Those who favor an institution should be the most critical and most eager for improvement because that would make their “product” easier to sell.
If I favor the capitalist private enterprise system, I should be the most vigorous in rooting out its flaws.
If someone favors government action, would it make sense for them to do the same?
I find the phrases “national conversation” and “national debate” to be useless because they are nothing but self-protective interests talking “at” each other.
Once Twitter moves on to the next big thing, no actions are taken. We just calendar the next national conversation or debate, to which we will again pay no attention.
For our entire lives we have lived in a country that could afford to be stupid. Soon that might no longer be the case.