You and Me (But Mostly Me)

Elder Price:                       

You and me, but mostly me

Are gonna change the world forever

‘Cause I can do most everything

Elder Cunningham:        

And I can stand next to you and watch!

Elder Price:                       

Every hero needs a sidekick

Every captain needs a mate

Every dinner needs a side dish

Elder Cunningham:        

On a slightly smaller plate

Elder Price:                       

And now we’re seeing eye to eye

It’s so great, we can agree

That Heavenly Father has chosen you and me

Just mostly me.

You and Me (But Mostly Me) from The Book of Mormon (2011)

This moment is like no other. Our two parties are more divided than ever. Let’s discuss how we can come together to create opportunities for more people. #ReimagineUS

Howard Schultz via Twitter on January 27, 2019

My hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future…my work is about connecting the world and giving everyone a voice. I want to personally hear more of those voices this year.

Mark Zuckerberg, in a Facebook post from January 3, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back.

We know you enjoyed Season 1 of the Billionaire Listening Tour with Mark Zuckerberg, and we think you’ll like Season 2 even more. We’ve got a great host in store for you – the former chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz! What can fans of the series expect? Well, if you liked such classic episodes as Mark Rides a Tractor or Mark Wears a Tie and Sings Hymns in a Black Church, just wait until you feast your eyes on Howard Mails a Student Loan Payment and Howard Waits for His Number to be Called at the DMV. And don’t worry, we got your letters after the heartwarming Zuck Jams Out to DMB with a Heroin Addict segment. If you can hold in the tears after Howie Gently and Not At All Awkwardly Consoles a Single Mother, you have no soul.

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be cynical. I don’t hate billionaires; in fact, I rather loathe the recently fashionable disdain for those who have created wealth through really productive use of capital and ingenuity, especially in the rare cases where that wealth wasn’t wholly dependent on monopolistic behavior. Starbucks has made a lot of terrible coffee but even more money for its shareholders, which for me works out as a net good. I also can’t bring myself to care about ‘splitting votes.’ I understand that it matters to others more invested in a particular outcome to elections in 2020, but that’s not what gets me about all this.

What gets me is the absolute mendacity that underlies the launch of a presidential publicity campaign around the idea that Howard Schultz has any interest in discussing anything with anyone. Take a look at the website his new Twitter persona links to. Count the pictures of Howard. Read about his journey. Follow along the timeline. Chrissakes, he’s coordinating the launch of a Presidential campaign with the release of his personal memoirs! This is not a man with questions for you and me. This is a man who has The Answer.

We’ve said it before about people I like and respect even more than I do Howard Schultz, and I respect him rather a lot: The political center will not be rescued by an heroic elder statesman. It will not be rescued by a maverick Washington outsider. It will not be rescued by a billionaire with The Answer. The political center will survive by keeping Overton Windows wide, by fostering a community of shared trust and accountability with an expanding group of fellow citizens of good faith, and by rejecting the visceral call of the polarizing memes of the widening gyre.

By process. Not by another person who declares himself The Answer.

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  1. I think there are important ways in which Schultz’s actions are working to promote opportunities for Reciprocity and Identity. Those ways probably matter most here, if one’s objective is to act with clear eyes and full heart and to work to create more and more opportunity for others to do the same.

    I also think whenever you feel the need to insert an ‘I know I’m being cynical, but…’ that’s probably a sign that there’s another path that would be more in keeping with the Clear Eyes Full Hearts mantra. So, I’ll say i was disappointed by what i read in this piece.

  2. Most of the time, I try to fight my dominant paradigm of paternalistic curmudgeonly nihilism. Clear eyes and full hearts helps at times, but mostly I end up feeling swum over, exactly like a triathalon gone bad, almost fatally.
    I see The Emperor with New Notes, where even anti-missionaries unwittingly (?) still do Fed talk ‘because’ those Notes must be more than just mutual agreement for the benefit of all. And the endless procession of proselytizers with an Answer is so nauseating I end up walking on the beach listening to the endless wind and surf pounding all the beautiful shells into sand, relentlessly. 'The Answer my friend is …"

  3. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things - Andy Dufresne

    I get your point Rusty but one of the steps in clear eyes full hearts was “taking back your vote” and while I’m not optimistic that Schultz is the “answer” I’m hopeful that enough centrists (however small) on both sides refuse to vote for their respective buffoon/extremist party leaders therby planting the seed in the national psychology that maybe there is a market for moderates. Our job is to talk to our friends/colleagues about the widening gyre and and that a vote for an independent isn’t a vote for trump, nor is it smart to vote for trump because solely because you Love how much he annoys the left. Naive? probably… but hope is a good thing.

  4. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    That’s OK, EnochRoot. I appreciate your thoughts! Remember, though, that I’m not some zen master sitting in a forest somewhere - I have views, too, and I expect that you do, too.

    The point isn’t and shouldn’t be to stop being ourselves. The whole point of this idea is to be able to express that without fear within the pack. And for me, whether Schultz has good ideas or not, a guy whose logo is his signed first name over an image of his full name probably isn’t what promotes reciprocity and identity. But I AM really interested in hearing from you why you DO. And if you have more detailed thoughts, I’d be happy to put that up on the site so that the pack can hear a different perspective.

  5. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Hope IS a good thing. I think that history tells us, however, that widening gyres bring forward a lot of people who define themselves as the answer. I don’t think we have to ignore that to believe that there is a market for moderates.

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