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|A Challenge to Democrats|
|Written by Gary Svoboda|
|Friday, 14 November 2008 17:00|
With the wonderful Obama/Biden victory a number of folks are already brimming with suggestions about how Barack should proceed. However, I think one of the best ways to help the President-elect is for Dems to be introspective. Generally the focus after an election is on what the loser needs to do to recover. How about if we take some proactive steps to improve our rhetoric to win over those good-hearted voters that Barack was not able to convince prior to November 4 that he meant ALL that he said.
Democratic rhetoric can often come across as anti-business. That has two MAJOR problems. 1) We need business support to solve our economic and national problems and 2) there is a significant youth movement in business schools across this country to harness the power of the balance sheet to address civic challenges. If we don’t address this now, we will struggle to solve our dire economic problems to the greatest detriment of those least able to defend themselves from economic challenges and we’ll run the risk of turning these “green” business students into Republicans – say it ain’t so!
I’m well aware of the “green” business students because of the business with which I work. Realia Group works with business schools and corporate training programs to provide “sustainability” business acumen education. In Colorado, there are great programs underway at CSU, CU and DU.
A faculty colleague at Yale, where they focus heavily on training executives to run organizations like World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense, (Dr. Garry Brewer) indicates that he’s seen more progress in the last 10 years by business leaders in understanding the environment than he’s seen in environmental leaders understanding business.
Responding to this opportunity does not mean that the Democratic Party needs to abandon its affiliation with labor. But it does recognize that being a friend to labor also means understanding labor needs to work at successful, productive companies. As we embark on a national debate on healthcare and other expensive challenges, we have to be able to pay for our vision. We must not assume that all businesses are the enemy. I know personally of executives making more than $250,000 annually that supported Obama and are endeavoring to include in their business strategies tackling community issues through innovation and investment. There is no reason we can’t acknowledge and support these efforts and still maintain a sincere support of labor and the disadvantaged. Despite Republican rhetoric, the Obama vision is about lifting ALL boats and not redistributing the powerful results of education, innovation and investment.