First and foremost, here are facts on the ground. John Coltrane’s “How Deep Is The Ocean” tune is playing on Pandora. I am plopped down here at a chain eatery at the corner of Lankershim and Chandler boulevards in North Hollywood’s spiritually rejuvenated Arts District. Next, I’d like to quote from Travels, a manuscript published in 1988 by my favorite Harvard-educated-doctor-turned-novelist. This quote sums up my outlook and worldview moving forward in this existence pretty well. Before upcoming travel to Tanzania via Ukraine, or U.S. politics, African politics, religion politics, business and death, I offer you this:
“It is my intention to write about the interstices of my life, about the events that occurred while what I imagined to be the real business of my life was taking place.”
-Michael Crichton, Travels, p. xi
Fact is, while I pay attention to HKS podcast to gauge where Harvard’s bright minds are today because I am interested in being accepted to HKS for 2018-19 to become one, I come from a media background and will never been able to ween away from it. Fact is, I am one phone call-in away from having 2009 national champion North Carolina Tar Heels player and four-year NBA veteran Rashad McCants on the line. Rashad’s my guy, even though our business relationship has yet to truly take shape. He needs to reconcile with UNC board of trustees to be able to win over Michael Jordan and introduce us into East Africa.
Which brings me to the topic of trust. Today and for the foreseeable future – through at least Jan. 20, 2021, when POTUS Donald J. Trump will either enter a second term or a new president will rise – facts remain that the U.S is still the most diverse, embittered, conflicted and awesomely powerful nation on the planet known as Earth. But, let me defer to HKS’ roundtable participant, Roger Porter, who should not to be confused with Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter, the genius whose Five Forces concept is the paradigm underneath the mindset of global business.
When RP says that the U.S. is “a nation that’s roughly 50/50,” he’s talking about half of the people wanting democracy and the other half wanting a republic. It’s the that finely-aged realism versus liberalism dilemma. For the uninitiated and uneducated, these different sets of governments can govern a democracy.
“Democracy takes the preferences and priorities of all sorts of people and tries to meld them together.”
Elsewhere in the podcast, the fellas and a lady – named Barbara – bring up the good ol’ D.C. slang I’ve heard many times from R.M.D. in Northwest DC: low-hanging fruit. Even further down, I heard them bring up “the importance of strategic ambiguity,” which is a key phrase POTUS candidate Hillary Clinton has given in speeches to Goldman Sachs investment bankers.
I love how the entire roundtable laughed at the mambo jambo that Mama Chelsea uses to fundraise for her nonprofit organization Clinton Global Initiative, which I think should employ my good friend and family member Cecilia Membe in Tanzania to actually do some private sector that benefits that East African republic.
As far as POTUS Donald J. Trump’s concerned, I am actually a fan of the guy. I understand his professed appreciation of Russian leader Vladimir Putin (we share in that), sarcasm, his sexual innuendos, his vilification. He is a typical albeit oddly Scottish and niggafied New York City raised real estate developer, through and through.
Trump and I have a few things in common in that we play a villain to some and are grandiose to others. I was an Inland Empire commercial real estate reporter at the California Real Estate Journal from March to May 2007, hired and unceremoniously fired by Michael Gottlieb because he needed to churn through yet another reporter after burning a bridge with my predecessor. That’s my only basis for comparing myself to Trump, since I have yet to develop an inch of commercial real estate.
This post’s getting too long but let’s just say that blogging is a lot like hedge fund target practice when you have family in Tanzania and Ukraine. Furthermore, I have aspirations to give rise to the first POTUS born to a Ukrainian-American father and a Tanzanian national in the state of Ohio. Galion, Ohio, to be exact.
Now, if you will excuse me, let me go figure out the last quip I learned from Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s last PolicyCast, used by a participant as a reference to the 45th President of the United States of America:
“I think he’s strategically ambiguous to his benefit.”