Monday, May 9, 2011

The Psychology Matters: What Getting Osama Means to Americans...

I was on the porch when my husband came out and told me about the breaking news that really and truly was...*breaking news*...he said, "Obama got Osama."  We ran upstairs, booted up all the computers, put the tv on News Mix and began the hunt for details.  Each new piece of information revealed a deliberate, patient and thorough investigation that culminated in a brilliant action by the SEALS.  It hit me that more than any one death or accomplishment, what would be most impactful about this success would be the jolt of competence, pride and determination that Americans might begin to see again in the mirror after so many years of failures.

One of the great things about being an Educator is that you can learn about something, make connections to material that you use again and again and make it fresh.  I taught Critical Thinking last week and could not have created a better illustration of why these skills are so critical to success.  Getting my fellow Americans to associate this success with certain kinds of thinking and action is easy when you have such an example set by the CIA, the Armed Forces and the President and his team.  More than one person asked me what I thought it meant...for the country, for the President, for the wars...well, basically I think a win is a win is a win.  I also think the bolster to our own sense as Americans is difficult to measure, but ultimately will be the most powerful outcome.

When we traveled to Ireland in 2006, a man I became friends with asked me, "What happened to America?"  I asked him what he meant, as I was unsure which disaster he was referring to and he replied, "Well, you used to count on the Americans to be the ones who could get things done.  Everyone else might want to talk on and on about it, but the Americans were the ones with a good plan and superior execution.  It just seems like with Iraq and Katrina, your country is falling apart."  I couldn't exactly argue for the competence of our leaders.  But he wasn't just talking about our leaders...he was talking about all of us.  I could not honestly answer for what had happened--although I have lots of educated guesses as to why most of what we have taken on has remained unfinished or poorly constructed.

Here's what I learned about my country in the last seven days:
  • We can do what we say we are going to do
  • When we get it right, nobody does it better
  • We really know how to make anything "Hollywood"
  • When we focus on a goal, learn to share information and act in good faith with the full assets of our hearts and minds, things can change in an instant.
  • Don't begin to mess with the SEALS
  • We are not just overweight, loud, impatient and prone to braggadocio...we are also careful, smart, daring and nimble.
  • The singing, dancing and relief was not to celebrate someones death, it was an exhale from a citizenry gripped by fears of its own irrelevance for too many years
  • We picked the right man to be President and that man is like a duck on the water, placid on top and furiously paddling underneath--so very proud of all those involved.
  • Don't count us out and don't underestimate us.
It is a clear shot across the bow and it is my hope that this event precedes our ability to solve budgetary decisions, withdrawal of troops and our economy.  Wouldn't it be something if all those who run businesses in this country felt a renewed sense of optimism and patriotism and starting hiring people?  Isn't it time to quit hoarding liquidity and invest in us?  Have we not proven our value?

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