Changing the Culture of America

– Franciene McDonald

Many of us have been shocked at the rapid pace of events following the presidential election of 2008. While some of us may have voted for the current President, very few expected the rush to pass sweeping legislation which we have seen since he took office in January of 2009. What is it that has occurred in our culture to blind our citizens to the enormous increase in the power of the central government?

As I have studied the situation, both alone and with the Central Texas 9/12 organization, I have come to realize that the changes did not occur overnight but have been coming for a long time. The following series of four articles will reflect on those changes. The articles will use examples from recent and current Administrations and Congress to highlight these changes to our culture.

 

More than 10 years ago my husband brought home from his workplace a pamphlet which his company’s new management was requiring each of its senior managers to read. The pamphlet was entitled “High-Velocity Culture Change“ by Price Pritchett and Ron Pound published in 1993.  The 44 page pamphlet was written, according to the authors, to help a business organization change its culture and thereby become more profitable and competitive.

Upon reading the pamphlet, both my husband and I were alarmed. My husband retired from the organization within a year, recognizing that the changes and the methods proposed by the pamphlet would destroy the company for which he had worked all of his adult life. I wanted to share some of this pamphlet with you and show you that what I quote from the book is not only predictive of our nation’s present circumstances but also indicates a wide acceptance of the kind of behavior suggested by the authors of the pamphlet.

Page 2 of “High Velocity Culture Change“: “Your approach to changing the culture should be highly out of character for the organization. Choose methods that stand in stark contrast to standard operating procedures. From the very outset you must free yourself from the existing culture and conceive a plan of action that starts to liberate the organization from its past….you will have trouble creating a new culture if you insist on doing it in ways that are consistent with the old one. Remember, the old culture is designed to protect itself, not to bring about its own demise… not following the rules is a good way to signal that the rules are being changed.”

Shortly before our current President was sworn into office, Americans became alarmed about the TARP bailout proposed by the outgoing Bush administration. Millions of citizens contacted their Congressional representatives in opposition to the plan.  The elected representatives, however, did not listen to their constituents words and chose instead to pass the 700 billion dollar plan.

As American citizens we have had the responsibility and the right to affect the path of our nation by communicating with our elected representatives. Since the Congressional election in 2006, the Democrat Party has had control of the Congress, so that opposition voices cannot be heard. Congress itself has become a tyranny of the majority. Its approval rating is now below 20%. With the election of a Democrat as President of the United States, one political party now controls two branches of the federal government.

Shortly after the President was sworn into office, the federal government took over two large American auto makers which were contemplating bankruptcy — GM and Chrysler. When the plan was announced, American citizens once again contacted their elected representatives, again to no avail. Although the President averred that he did not want to take over the auto industry, he did so anyway. According to Pritchett and Pound, “Your style, technique, and overall strategy for culture change should be alien to the status quo.

The third branch of government, the judicial branch, which was designed to keep the executive and legislative branches in check, is also not performing according to the Founder’s directions. Abrogation of legally signed contracts between the auto industry and its creditors by the Administration completed the takeover of the auto industry. The Supreme Court failed to stop the President’s actions.

“…not following the rules is a good way to signal that the rules are being changed….”

Page 4  of “High Velocity Culture Change“:…..”We don’t have time to sit around and sift through the sands of our history, trying to figure out the intricate details of who we are and how we became that way… Rather than dwell on trying to understand the existing culture, start doing those things that help the culture change.”

During his first year in office, the President traveled to Canada and a short time later to Europe and the Middle East. According to many media pundits, it was an “apology tour” — apologizing for what the current President believes are America’s sins, and even asserting that the most powerful country in the world is not exceptional.

Americans are rightly proud of their nation. Though the United States has made its share of mistakes, it is the nation to which almost every other nation turns in times of trouble.

“…. start doing those things that help the culture change….”

Page 6 of “High Velocity Culture Change“: “Don’t try to sneak up on people with culture change. This is no time for subtlety or a low-keyed approach…..And it should make enough noise to command people’s attention…. Fracture the old culture yourself… if there isn’t a crisis already, management has to create one…. Unless you can overwhelm its defenses — weaken the culture somehow — it launches a fierce counteroffensive… you must hit with enough shock effect to immobilize the old culture at least temporarily… if you go slow, bureaucracy and resistance to change will cancel out your efforts…”

Aligning itself with the Progressive leadership in Congress, the current Administration is pushing forward with a radical agenda. From the auto company takeover to a destruction of our health care system to Cap and Trade plans (a huge taxing proposal to take control of the energy and power generation sectors of the economy), to financial reform which will align the federal government with large banking institutions, the current federal government is rapidly attempting to change the American way of life. This government’s future agenda includes immigration reform and takeover of the internet, both of which it hopes to conclude before the November election cycle begins.

Many citizens have complained that too many bills are being introduced and passed before the citizenry has time to read, understand and comment on the legislation. Over and over again, calls from constituents have not encouraged their elected representatives to even read the bills which they are signing, much less cause them to change their vote.

“…. Unless you can overwhelm its defenses… if you go slow, bureaucracy and resistance to change will cancel out your efforts… “

Page 8 of “High Velocity Culture Change“: “Caring”, however, often gets misconstrued in this highly-charged emotional climate. People will question your motives, criticize your approach… condemn you personally….  a long term perspective  can reveal that high-velocity culture change is the most caring move you could make..”

Just this past week I read that a media personality, Woody Allen, quipped that the President should be dictator for just a few years, so that he could get more done without any interference with his plans. But the President’s approval rating is now 45% or less, indicating that his “caring” as it is construed by the political elite, does not set well with the American people. Many of those citizens who voted him into office no longer support him and are aghast at his radical agenda.

…“People will question your motives, criticize your approach …”

Page 10 of “High Velocity Culture Change“:  “Organizations hit by change experience a power surge. There’s a burst of new energy as the destabilization rouses people like a wake up call. The old culture goes on red alert….you need to make a preemptive strike and focus the energy on driving culture change….You must seize control of the energy… so that it can‘t perpetuate the old culture…”

Groups like our own 9/12 organizations, local and national Tea Parties and other activist groups have been aroused by this President’s agenda. They are fighting back, awakened to the change which is being forced on this nation. These activist groups have been met by resistance from organizations such as powerful labor unions and community action groups which have aligned themselves with this Administration’s programs. These latter groups seem unconcerned with the destruction of their freedoms, instead believing that the “new reality” will further enrich their own members and lead to increased political power for them.

…“The old culture goes on red alert … ”

The next installment in this series of articles will continue the discussion of “High Velocity Culture Change”, showing how a misguided philosophy intended to increase the profitability of a manufacturing company is being used to alter our nation‘s values and destroy its citizens’ freedoms.

 

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