Our Only Hope

Guest post by Dr. Doug Stilwell, Assistant Professor Drake University

Although I never had the chance to meet him, I have been so tremendously influenced by Dr. Deming’s work that in my former work as superintendent and in the leadership classes I teach at Drake University, I often refer to him as “My good friend Dr. Deming.” Now more than ever, I wish he was still with us, for even at age 64 I have so many burning questions I’d like to ask him, driven by the extreme frustration I feel about the “state of things” in our world. Specifically relating to the condition of our country and the impact of “politics” on those of us who live in this system, here is where I would like to begin my inquiry:

  1. Is our country a system? In other words, in your estimation do we have a common aim towards which we work interdependently to achieve? If not, should it be?
  2. Why do “politics” seem to be a “zero sum game?” in which, depending on election results, up to 49.9% of citizens can be losers? (Although some say, “Elections have consequences,” I am reminded of Dr. Deming’s comments about “winners and losers” in a marriage, saying, “Who wants to be married to a loser?” Similarly, we might ask ourselves, “Who wants to be a part of a country with so many losers?”)
  3. Does our country suffer from the “tyranny of management,” coming from the highest levels of political decision-making, which may be destroying our people?

Although I do not know if Dr. Deming publicly commented on politics, I have a hunch that like every other person he had opinions. For those of you who knew and worked with him, I would so appreciate reading your thoughts on the questions I have raised.

Finally, I have modified a statement made by Princess Leia in the very first Star Wars movie (Episode IV “A New Hope”), relative to education, and I will say it in relation to the state of our country, “Help us Dr. Deming; you’re our only hope.”

 

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