Obama’s telling misalignment

“When we align our values with our actions, great things can happen,” says Bemporad Baranowski Marketing Group (BBMG), a New York-based branding agency dedicated to nonprofits and socially responsible businesses.

President Obama shares the same philosophy.

Addressing the memorial service in Tucson this week, Obama said:

We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -– but rather, how well we have loved — and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.

And that process — that process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions –- that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires.

When two things are brought into alignment, repositioning can take place from both sides, but just as wheels can get knocked out of alignment with the chasis of a car, when it comes to values and actions, it is most often our actions that need moving into alignment with our values — not the other way around.

Americans score high when it comes to cherishing high values — the fall comes in our failing to align our actions with our values.

Mr Compromise might not be able to spot the difference. A man who so reflexively yields to pressure sees all things as relative. He yields so easily because he lacks an anchor to an unyielding center.

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8 thoughts on “Obama’s telling misalignment

  1. pangloss

    I think David Bromwich makes your point specifically in regard to Obama and the law. Bromwich’s latest analysis compares Lincoln, speaking to a crowd in a time similar or maybe worst than the present, and the Tucson out pouring of Obama. I’m pleased with my epigram of Bromwich’s evaluation: lawyer Obama, unlike lawyer Lincoln, avoids the law – troubling.

    Bromwich piece was in Huffington’s yesterday: http://huff.to/gVM6zT

  2. Vince J.

    Obama, like Clintons, like Chenney, like Rice or Feith, or Yoo or Rumsfeld, like Gates or Mullen…

    ….is just another WAR CRIMINAL.

  3. rosemerry

    I thought exactly the same thing as I read the quote. I also note that we constantly hear of alleged threats from Iran, Hezbollah etc, but it is the ACTIONS of Israel, USA and its NATO and other “partners for peace” that cause the damage all over the world.

  4. rick

    I insert a very important clarification into what Paul Woodward has written:

    “It is most often our actions that need moving into alignment
    with our [*ALLEGED*] values — not the other way around.”

    Unfortunately, major divergence between Actions and declared Values —
    i.e, Denial and Hypocrisy as a Way of Life — plagues all humanity,
    not just American Exceptionalists, and high-profile hypocrites like Obama.

    This webpage ===> http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6092.html
    sketches several studies that shed light on how human psychological flaws
    operate to maintain our proclamations of noble Values,
    despite our selfish or expedient Actions.

    One interesting paper is:
    “Sweatshop Labor is Wrong Unless the Jeans are Cute:
    Motivated Moral Disengagement”.

    The authors write: “Our work demonstrates how moral disengagement can be used
    to deal with cognitive dissonance that arises from everyday consumption.
    WHILE ON THE FACE OF IT, SUCH ACTIONS ARE LESS ATROCIOUS THAN
    THE HORRORS OF WAR, they may perhaps be even more dangerous
    due to their subtle and insidious nature …”

    I would append this to their sentence above:
    “… in allowing behavioral-economic incentives to Nudge us into Complicity
    with a globalized culture that is economically unsustainable, ethically unsound,
    socially unjust, and environmentally insane.”

    Perhaps the best study (although somewhat dense reading) is:
    “The Ethical Mirage: A Temporal Explanation as to
    Why We Aren’t as Ethical as We Think We Are”
    http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/08-012.pdf

    Its Abstract notes: “People predict that they will behave more ethically
    than they actually do, and when evaluating past (un)ethical behavior,
    they believe they behaved more ethically than they actually did.”

  5. Christopher Hoare

    I’d suggest Americans used to have high values, now they only talk about them. Since Reagan, they have modified their values to align with their desires and actions.

    This degradation has come from the top, from Presidents and Congress, from think tanks and universities, from commerce and industry, from media and Wall St. I noticed particularly that as the number of MBAs increased the numbers of good high paying jobs for everyone else decreased. These people have no values, just an admiration for money. The paradigm they live by is false and destructive — the whole of society needs cleaning out, starting from the premises these people spout.

  6. Norman

    As the “Empire” fails, the real victims will be those who are on top. They are the ones who haven’t the foggiest idea of what it’s like to survive, where or when their next meal is coming from, what it’s like to live among others who are in the same boat. Today, they are employed & eat good. The day is fast approaching when the infrastructure that supplies the goods consumed will be in such disarray, that no longer can the commerce be counted on to provide the services expected. As more & more lose their jobs, lose their homes, they find that the friends they once counted, are no longer there. The Business elite no longer care, not even the present Government, they just give lip service, line their own pockets at the expense of the majority, as the bubbles just keep coming. So, who will bail out the banks, the businesses, pay for the wars, even the maintenance, when there no longer is any employed, no more healthy body’s to pick up the slack? Will the mad men in this country consider collateral damage is the price to pay? It’s time to wake up from the delusion, before it’s too late.

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