“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Apple “Think Different” advertising campaign.
I had a strange thought when I heard about the death of Prince over the weekend.
Where are the creative geniuses in politics?
Where are the round pegs, the innovators, the geniuses and rebels?
Could be it be that politics doesn’t lend itself to the archetypes that Apple’s ad described? You know, the Einstein’s, Earhart’s, Picasso’s, Edison’s and yes Bowie’s and Prince’s of the world–people whose sheer brilliance and creativity changed the way we see the world.
Sure we’ve had Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Lincoln, Churchill, King and FDR but it sure seems that the arts and entrepreneurship produce more game changers.
At the risk of alienating some friends, the overwhelming sentiment that seems to accompany this presidential election cycle is the strong feeling on both sides of “is this really the best we can do?”
That feeling runs the gamut from president to our legislature and city councils. Where are the visionaries, the healers, the uniters and the innovators?
Maybe our politics no longer lends itself to creativity and innovation. Democrats have to conform to certain beliefs and so do Republicans. Stray from the orthodoxy and you are toast. Try to evolve and you’re a flip flopper. Introduce an idea that bucks the status quo and you’ve lost your base.
We see it on a local level with elected officials afraid to cast votes that may upset the loud voices and yet doesn’t progress rely on taking chances, on saying yes sometimes.
If you study the list of Apple’s “Think Different” icons and the few others we’ve lost this year including Bowie and Prince it becomes clear what sets them apart. Sure they are talented and creative. Yes, some were extraordinarily smart but the common thread is they didn’t succumb to fear.
I can’t say that they were fearless–chances are they felt fear– but all of them decided to be themselves anyway, to pursue their art, vision or passion.
Maybe politics–which has been described as the art of compromise– (but now even compromise is viewed as weakness)–is no longer designed for the game changers in our society.
If that’s the case, we ought to mourn that as well. Or we ought to be hard at work to change that.
We need the rebels, the creatives, the originals to get to work on the most pressing challenges and opportunities of our time. At every level of our society.