The silence is deafening
August 19th, 2006Recently I was traveling with two close friends and while we caught blurred glimpses of the farms of Ottawa County as we drove on, the discussion in the car was decidedly focused. We were discussing the economy and our respective thoughts on how to address our collective concerns. This, of course, dove right into a spirited debate about who could really carry the water leading the charge to attract and retain jobs, design long-term incentives for business growth and sustainable approaches assuring that Michigan regains its posture in terms of development and strengthening the economy.
No small order . . . but it did lead me to think that as I read in yesterday's Grand Rapids Press and heard on the TV news about the next round of deep cuts at Ford, that no one person, political party, business membership organization, media source, and the like has landed on the key strategies that will lead to the ultimate answer to our state's economic woes. In fact, my sense is that ideology - right, left, centrist - isn't going to spell out the complete answer neatly either.
What is going to have to happen is continuing on the path of hard arduous work - bringing together smart people from both sides of the aisle - and cutting out the political wheeling and dealing and focusing on attracting new knowledge industries/companies, retraining our work force, developing consensus on what makes a good and affordable compensation package for workers including benefits increasing our chances of having a competitive edge that has slipped away.
I hope that as this political season heats up, that West Michigan understands that community philanthropic organizations do understand the issues, have NO corner on the correct answers either and that we have to maintain neutrality in terms of siding with one candidate or another or openingly supporting one party or another. It is political suicide for us to comment as we would destroy our respective organization's ability to make a positive impact in our communities. We know that our silence, at times, is deafening but necessary.