“"How many leaders actively seek out and encourage views alien and at odds with their own? All too few...Who in your organization serves as your Challenger In Chief? Interrogating the choices you are considering making? Making you consider the uncontemplated, the unimaginable and that which contradicts or refutes your position? And also challenging you?"”
Up Front: December 2012
I am so relieved that the U.S. presidential election is finally over. The past year–and especially recent months–have been marked by an undercurrent of anxiety, with otherwise-loving families having cocktail-soaked dinner wars and old friends severing Facebook ties over national policy issues. Perhaps now we can all stop bickering and get down to business.
Or perhaps we can’t: Partisan gridlock had already reached a pretty intense level well before election season arrived and, with a divided Congress and electorate, there may be no end in sight. Still, I became just a bit more optimistic after attending the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla. in October. As in past years, I was impressed by the incredible sense of community and spirit within the business aviation family. One thing that gave me hope were the general-session talks by husband-and-wife political consultants James Carville (a 2008 BJT cover subject) and his wife Mary Matalin. As usual, both were intense, and as usual, they concurred on almost nothing–aside from the fact that they clearly agree they belong together. If a couple with views that opposite can keep their marriage intact, perhaps the rest of us can learn to work more harmoniously with one another.
One sign of just how charged the political climate has become was the reaction we received to a recent blog post by our editor, Jeff Burger, about President Obama and business aviation. The post included some criticism of the president but also questioned the industry’s response to a statement by Obama. One reader commented on our site: “I can’t believe Business Jet Traveler would allow this article.”
In fact, I’m proud that BJT would publish an article like this. Our goal is not to promote any particular point of view. Instead, we exist to serve our readers by presenting a wide range of information and astute, well-reasoned viewpoints. And we invite you to join the discussion via letters, emails and Web postings. We may not all always agree but if we can exchange ideas while maintaining a civil tone, that’s a step in the right direction.
Thank you from all of us at BJT for your readership and support. May the year ahead be your best one yet.