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.
Sellers, June 10, 2020 at 6:36 pm said:
The American experiment was supposed to be about a limited government that mostly stayed out of people’s way. It has morphed into an out of control monster, unable or and unwilling to do anything and alienating half the population every times it makes an attempt. With good reason: it was not designed for Social engineering. Good luck. Civil War, economic collapse? These are definitely possible, probable even. Your analysis is quite accurate, though I for one think it is even worse than you imply.
Haven Pell, June 10, 2020 at 7:40 pm said:
understatement is a big part of my oeuvre
Sellers, June 10, 2020 at 6:48 pm said:
PS: there only two things wrong with our gun laws, in my opinion:
a) there are too many of them, something like 2,500 I believe, and;
b) the are not rigorously enforced against the bad guys.
Tim Warburton, June 10, 2020 at 8:49 pm said:
Good points – up to a point.
Yet, left out of the discussion is the role of 50 state legislatures, and hundreds of cities of varying sizes, as well as counties and local governments. Plus – Progress is slow – what was dramatic change for us (Church commission, Nixon, Kent State) is now nowhere near enough for the new young inexperienced brains.. (everybody needs their own 60’s)
This will pass, center will hold, somehow, justice will be done by human judges trying to follow due process and existing law. Legislators, agitators, and middle of the roaders will pass new variations on existing law – the 10 commandments will continue to slowly be eroded.
The 8th commandment (Thou shalt not steal) will be amended to (the state shall expand its powers of eminent domain)
And other unenforçable behavior which occurs from time to time (sometimes callled organized crime, other times called
Riots and looting) shall be halted in its tracks as reasonable sane people take back hold of the reins..
In other words, the states will act in their people’s interests and Federal government at some point, should the Durham investigation find genuine interference by some of the Obama gang, will presumably bring about changes – but quite frankly social engineering and incentives debates will only slow, stopping is unlikely. Thomas Sowell suggests that the engineering by the state over the past 50-60 years has on been successful in eliminating the father from poor families, and the drive for Success for many replaced by the drive for “free”.
Haven Pell, June 11, 2020 at 11:51 am said:
I left the states out of my story because Politico wrote only about Washington. Nonetheless you make a good point about greater hope elsewhere. Depending on public opinion at the time, it is not easy to resist the extreme claims that often get made, primarily or the purpose of getting attention. I too hope the center holds. Others disagree.
Peter W. Bragdon, June 10, 2020 at 10:04 pm said:
Last week I commented to a wise friend that America will emerge from this mess a better nation. He suggested that I order a book called — I think — “The Four Waves” — maybe it is a different word than “wave” — I will find out when the book arrives. The message of the author is that our first wave was the Revolution — sanitized by historians but a recent book called “the British Are Coming” makes clear that this was an ugly civil war as well as a revolution. But out of this ugliness emerged a nation. The next wave was the Civil War — and an improved nation eventually emerged. The third wave was the Depression-WWII and a better nation emerged. Presently, we are in the midst of a fourth wave — out of this chaos an improved nation will emerge. All the signs are there — such as the participation of far more than Black America in the protests — and the involvement of American youth. This is a watershed. America will not just turn a page, forget and move on, such as we have done after previous atrocities.
Tim Warburton, June 11, 2020 at 7:20 am said:
I wonder if you are not speaking of Neil Howe’s seminal book on generational change called “The Fourth Turning”. In he posits that every fourth generation, there tends to be cyclical activity which brings about large upheavals which culminates in a better outcome. His point now being that we are the beginning of another “Fourth Turning” now.
It could also be George Friedman’s book – “the Calm before the Storm”.
I am not a shill for George, but I am a fan – here George in own words about his own book.
And by the way, I know for a fact the George has listened to Neil’s discussions (since I have been to the same conferences with both of them) and I did wonder whether George had appropriated Neil’s thinking.
Tim Warburton, June 11, 2020 at 8:09 am said:
In my mailbox today was the following monograph by George Freidman, people of a certain age and experience will appreciate his less than subtle ironies.
Haven Pell, June 11, 2020 at 11:59 am said:
Peter and Tim, As frequent commenters, we have added a feature (at Tim’s suggestion) to permit you to receive an email if someone else comments either on the story or on your comment. It will be your choice to do so or not. I am depending on the sophisticated readers of the Pundificator not to turn it into a disaster. If that happens we can turn off the feature.
Peter I hope you are correct that this time people won’t just turn the page and move on. I hope the changes are well considered and rational.
Tim, thank you for helping Peter with the Fourth Turning and suggesting George Friedman’s generally excellent pieces.
Matt Hodges, June 11, 2020 at 1:06 pm said:
Haven Pell, June 11, 2020 at 2:15 pm said:
response to test comment