A conference is a gathering of people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
If you follow politics at all as I do, albeit, at a distance and hopefully downwind, you could make the case that Fred was talking about politicians. It seems us Yanks have a penchant for electing people that at best, have difficulty exercising any independent thought. That is, beyond getting re-elected. Somehow, I don’t think our founding fathers saw Congress as a profession when they drew up this whole Constitution thing. But I digress.
Over the years, I have attended a lot of meetings and conferences, and must agree that those resulting in anything conducive to progress were few and far between. More often than not, the two sides were not conciliatory, where ideas were bounced off each other. In fact, the only things that seemed to be exchanged were opinions, and we all know what they are worth. I am reminded of, when still a child, playing Red Rover, where two opposing sides would link arms and one member would be chosen to rush the other team, with the express purpose of breaking through, while the other team stood steadfast in an effort to avoid that from happening. Sound familiar?
Having spent many years in a corporate environment, where you were results driven, the most incongruous thing about those results was, they were always made by the people furthest from the problem. It wasn’t until late in my career that I began to see a small shift in decision making that included the people that actually performed the work. How unique is that. It puts me in mind of a story that circulated around my company about a production worker that, upon retiring said “all these years you have paid only for my hands when you could have had my head for free”.
I find it ironic that, with the world in the current state of unrest and yes, destruction, that no one can make a decision, much less a good one. It seems all eyes are focused internally, concentrating on “what’s in it for me”. When the party takes precedent over the people, we no longer have a democracy. We have instead a flea market where our leaders pick and choose the things they like, leaving a lot of items on the table.
We are now running up on the next election and the cycle begins anew. Learned people (I jest) jockeying for position, hoping to gain or retain a position of power (and affluence). Ready to champion the cause of, of what? Me? You? I don’t think so. That would require making a considered decision. How risky is that? And, of course, you can rationalize that deciding to do nothing is in fact a decision. Just sayin.