The Opportunity of a Crisis

I know that the notion of “Crisis = Danger + Opportunity” as derived from the Chinese characters ( ) is a folk myth.

However, that doesn’t really detract from the concept, does it?

Making an opportunity out of crisis looks very different from the Regressive world view than it does from the Progressive viewpoint.

The Regressive (read, Conservative/Republican) sees a crisis as an opportunity to consolidate power, leverage fear and further the anti-progress, anti-people agenda.

The Progressive sees a crisis as an opportunity to examine the system and environment that caused or yielded the crisis and take corrective action- for the benefit of all everyone with no one left out. (That, by the way, is what it is to be a Progressive. Everybody wins. To be a Regressive, only the Super Rich win, and everybody else loses.)

Let’s take the terrorist attacks on 9/11 for example. Begging the question of any culpability on the part of the [then] current administration, there is no question at all that the tragedy was used subsequently to implement policies that run contrary to the letter and spirit of the US Constitution (Patriot Act, for example). The meme of “9/11” was (and still is) used to instill fear in the ignorant (“We fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”). The attack was used as an excuse to go to war in Iraq- and we ALL knew that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the SAUDI, Egyptian and Lebanese terrorists who flew the airplanes into the WTC.

Some people were so shaken up and angered by the attack that they allowed themselves to be duped into thinking we were going after Saddam for any reason other than the Oil in that country. You weren’t one of those people, were you? Tsk tsk… Unfortunately, a lot of otherwise sane politicians drank the Koolaid and allowed the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan to be pursued. And allowed the Patriot act to be passed. (It couldn’t have been related to those Anthrax-filled envelopes sent to Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy and … of course not.)

I could make this post really long if I wanted to list all of the “opportunities” taken by the Regressive Bush administration (suspension of Habeas Corpus, “extraordinary rendition”, torture of prisoners….) but I won’t.

Let’s look at what the rational response would be to such a tragedy- the response that you- an intelligent person who cares about the future of their family, their neighborhood, their country and their world- might take:

For one, the attacks might not have happened. You wouldn’t be looking for an opportunity to consolidate power, and you wouldn’t have missed (or ignored?) the signs that this was about to happen.

Let’s say that you did miss them. Questions you might ask… why? What do these people want? What have we done to attract their attention? What can we do to stop them? (hint: Attacking Afghanistan and Iraq didn’t seem to do the trick). What kind of a world do we want? Can we win the will of the people “over there” by shooting them at their wedding parties? Or maybe we could fund schools and jobs.

Just a thought.

About Bernie Sirelson

• Piano Teacher • Futurist • Out of the Box
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