What’s the Plan?

In the most difficult moments of my life, the words that always helped me the most were “what’s the plan?” Knowing that there’s something beyond the horrible situation of right now, something to plan for, something to grab on to take me out of the bad place always helps.

I can’t just bemoan endlessly without knowing what’s the plan.

This is why I’ve lost all patience with colleagues in academia who keep enumerating the problems and stating and restating that things are going badly in higher ed. At my school, we have unionized, and that’s something we are actively doing to change things locally. At my department, we have converted one adjunct colleague to tenure-track. Now I want us to convert another one. Today a colleague from another school sent me an essay where she lays out not only the problems but what we must do to address them, a clear plan of action, and I love that. We need to overtake scholarly associations, we need to get together, and do things. That’s what I want.

This is why I’ve been at first frustrated and then plain enraged over the collective reaction to Trump. My newsfeed is impossible to read because there is nothing but endless expressions of horror and grief. I want to grab people, shake them, and yell, “And what’s your plan? What do you propose to do, you dumbass?”

Aside from inane hopes to elect more Democrats – to do what? to put in place what plan of action? – there’s nothing.

The tax bill was bad, horrible, it was a big meanie. Having said – and repeated, and repeated again – that, what’s the plan to stop the flight of liquid capital? Tax breaks for business won’t work, and I said that from the start, but what will?

What Trump is doing at the border is horrific. It’s beyond wrong. So let’s go vote for Dem candidates who will do – what? Not say anything on the subject and then deport by the million on the sly without any guiding principle or clear goal, like Obama? To get us a repeat of the current situation a few years later?

Trump stinks but his party is 90% happy with his results. When were we 90% happy with ours? Are you 90% happy with Obama? Let’s be honest, we are never too happy with our side. Because it never does anything for us. It knows that all it needs is to be a little bit better than the really horrible guys and we’ll stick with them because that’s all we have.

Whoever has a plan will win if nobody has a better one. Actually, he’s already winning while we are sitting here feeling rightfully outraged. And we are so right to be outraged, and angry, and enraged. But being so right – what does it get us?

The current immigration bill, if it legalizes the Dreamers, stops breaking up families, and returns the kids to their mommies in exchange for the wall and the end of lottery – why not accept it today? Because we have a better plan? Great. What is it? Let’s all hear what it is and fight for it till we drop.

It never works to be on the defensive and jump around putting out the fires created by people with a plan. What works is to have a clear goal and beat our way towards it.

What’s the plan?

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7 thoughts on “What’s the Plan?”

  1. Yes, this situation with all these people complaining is frustrating, but what do you plan doing about it? πŸ˜›

    (Yes, of course, I deserve my own special rung of hell.)

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    1. I actually do have a plan, and it’s a good one. I stopped watching the news, never go on FB any more, don’t look at Twitter, and skip most of the newsfeed. It’s sad but better than being sucked into the protracted moaning.

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  2. I think most people’s “plan” is to bliss out on outrage (the new Soma). I was listening to a far left podcast and just from the intonation and tone of voice they were tripping balls about Trump’s border policy.
    They were giddy with excitement – the US is finally living up to some of there hyperbole and the ecstasy was winning out over the outrage (another part of their plan is to wonder why people, other people aren’t doing something….). By now I think they dread the idea of Trump not being re-elected and having to go cold turkey from the delirious pleasure they get from their outrage highs…

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    1. At least couple dozen people in my newsfeed yesterday posted a recording of wailing babies at the detention center and shared lengthy descriptions of thw suffering they experienced while listening. I mean, they were sitting there and listening to the whole thing.

      Reminded me of two colleagues in grad school who would describe in minute detail rape scenes from movies to add in the end, “It was so horrible to watch!”

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  3. There are times one recognizes a problem with no idea what to do about it, except to publicize it in the hope and expectation that someone with the capability of doing something about it. As an extreme example of the type that I (as a mathematician) like for illustrative purposes, consider this scenario: Suppose an amateur astronomer discovers an asteroid which is on a collision course to collide with our planet in two years. No professional astronomers are likely to notice it for a long time. The amateur astronomer has no idea how to divert it, but suspects someone at NASA or elsewhere might. Is keeping quiet about it just because she or he has no plan to offer the correct course of action?

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    1. All I’m proposing is that people start asking the politicians they plan to vote for “what are you planning to do on immigration? On opioids? On capital flight? Don’t just tell us what you won’t do. Tell us what you will.” Surely, that’s not as hard as stopping an asteroid.

      Nobody asked Obama what he was going to do on immigration and he ended up laying the foundations of today’s inhuman policies. Neither Hillary nor Bernie laid out a plan on the subject. And it’s just one example on the basis of what everybody is talking about right now.

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      1. And yeah, I think there’s a scholarly study waiting to be done on the addictive qualities of outrage. I think there are chemical changes in the brain that occur after a while that it takes a long time to reverse. I can’t explain it in any other way.

        It’s ironic because I hated my fellow Ukrainians for being so accepting of anything and never getting outraged over anything. God heard my complaints and placed me in a culture that adores outrage. πŸ™‚

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