Back in the early 1990s, I heard John Donovan, an executive training guru at the time, tell a very interesting parable. It went something like this:
John and his eight year old daughter were out one evening at twilight in their little Boston whaler off the coast of Maine pulling up crab traps. John had just dumped a bunch of crabs out of a trap into a wicker basket and was scurrying around the boat trying to find a lid for the basket. He felt a tugging at his shirt sleeve. “Dad, dad…what are you doing?” asked his daughter. “Trying to find a lid for the basket,” he replied. “Dad, you don’t need a lid,” she said, “just watch.” They huddled together over the basket and watched. As a crab would try to climb out of the basket, all the other crabs would grab it and pull it back down. They watched the process repeat itself over and over again.
John was making a very powerful point: if you don’t do something about the crabs in your basket, no one is ever going to make it out of there. In trying to solve our most pressing social and economic problems, one of the first orders of priority needs to be neutralizing the crabs…every talking head out there that is just pushing our buttons…or no one is every going to get out of the basket we’re in.
As we go forward, I’ll use the comments in this section to identify the individuals and organizations in both political parties and in the news media who I believe are the crabs…they didn’t create the problems…but they don’t provide rational solutions and just keep us fighting each other and focused on the wrong things.