When challenging the status quo is questioned

Thinking about alternatives, coming up with creative solutions, keeping going despite past failures is what moves man forward.

When I first ran 20 years ago, I was so enamored with a quote from George Bernard Shaw from “Man and Superman” that I put it on all of my campaign literature. I’d not read it in Shaw’s play, but in a Tom Peters book, probably “Thriving on Chaos.” Peters was one of the first best-selling business authors and I had read every book he’d published starting with “In Search of Excellence.”

I’d quoted Tom Peters to the Dayton City Commission many times, while trying to get them to respond to my issues with City Hall over my non-historic garage doors (but that’s another story).

The Shaw quote is: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

I’ve been told a million times in Dayton that what I do in my political runs for office isn’t the way it’s done, that the questions I raise on this site are inappropriate, and “that you catch more bees with honey” and “build bridges, not walls” by my friend and unlikely mentor Captain Bill. I’m constantly questioned over my style instead of my substance, even being criticized for using a command voice that carries when speaking to a large group of people (over and over).

I began The Next Wave because I thought that most of the ad agencies in Dayton specialized in safe. I don’t believe you gain market share or get attention by doing fast, safe, easy (which was actually a tagline that a client settled on, despite my better judgment). Advertising that’s successful and memorable is bold, different, emotional, honest, quirky.

The same goes for life’s lessons, the ones most likely to be remembered are the ones that hurt the most, impressed the most, challenged the most. One day in Special Forces training is equal to the entire basic training experience. There is no comparison.

When I read this article in the New York Times this morning, I immediately thought that this teacher was pushing students to work outside their comfort zone and force them to think deeper than the sanitized dreck of standardized education:

ALBANY — High school is full of hypotheticals, like “How does one solve for x?” and “What happens if I skip class?” But this week, students at Albany High School were given an alarming thought puzzle: How do I convince my teacher that I think Jews are evil?

That question was posed to about 75 students on Monday by an unidentified 10th-grade English teacher as a “persuasive writing” exercise. The students were instructed to imagine that their teacher was a Nazi and to construct an argument that Jews were “the source of our problems” using historical propaganda and, of course, a traditional high school essay structure.

“Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion,” the assignment read. “You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”

via Albany Teacher Gives Pro-Nazi Writing Assignment – NYTimes.com.

To me, this is a teacher at their finest. How different is this question than “Write the editorial that supports slavery in pre-civil war America” – or against the rights of women to vote, or for prohibition, or to ban abortions? Or, why we had a right to slaughter the American Indians and take their land. Injustice is a lesson in life we all must face at some time, whether it be a promotion we didn’t get, a relationship that didn’t blossom, a court case that didn’t decide the way we wanted it to, or elections that returned the status quo.

Instead, “The teacher was not in class on Friday and is facing disciplinary action, she said, which could include termination.”

That, to me, is an injustice. I’d like your thoughts.

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