Thursday, April 12, 2018

Timing is Everything

As you may or may not know by now, I've spent the better part of my life as a brand strategist, either initiating brand strategies and tactics for start-ups or resurrecting established brands' whose Caretaker Managers have neglected them to the point of causing imminent death.  It's been a fascinating career, replete with challenges that were overcome with equal parts observation, business acumen and more than a little imagination.

It's the imagination  part that seems to catch everyone by surprise. For some reason, people can embrace a "what if" scenario on a spreadsheet, but when it comes to human behavior, they're not nearly as receptive.  Given the unprecedented events that have occurred throughout the world since 2016, I can't understand why human imagination is still mired in the depths of conventional thought. If anything, by now people should have learned to expect the unexpected.

They don't. Do you? Let's see just how receptive you are to this imaginative prediction of a few imminent world events:

At the time of this writing, a great debate is ensuing in the United States as to the possible outcome of the midterm elections that will occur in November, 2018.  Some pundits are sure of a magnificent "blue wave" which will wash away the still-unbelievable victory scored by Donald Trump.  Others are just as sure that the "red wave" is an unstoppable train that will roll over both houses of Congress with grace and ease.

I happen to believe the red wave will prevail, but not for the reasons proffered by either side.  And this is where your imagination comes in.

First, understand that unlike most midterm elections, this one will likely be influenced by both domestic and foreign factors. For every American who values his Federal tax break there's another who deplores the construction of a southern border wall.  For every Hungarian and Norwegian who has shunned muslim immigrants, there's a Frenchman, Brit and Swede that has watched Western society become completely overrun with Middle Eastern invaders.

Make no mistake, Americans are feeling a real divide out there and it could all come to head in time to affect the midterm elections under a huge red wave. Ready? Imagine this:

  1. Consider that with foreign countries restricting and outlawing guns (and now, apparently, knives) native populations are feeling increasingly squeezed into a corner. And while guns and knives may be illegal, cell phones, packages and explosives are not, which means that car-bombs and the like could become a street militia's weapon of choice. Who's to say that well-organized underground militias haven't already planted explosive packages in civilian neighborhoods of Paris and London? Disguised as repairmen, the bravest may have already placed these devices in high-rise tenements located in the most populous, most dangerous "no go" zones where even policemen are forbidden to trespass. What if one synchronized call to all those cell phone-activated packages would detonate hundreds of devices, bringing down tens of buildings at the same precise moment? No knives or guns required. And to top it off with just the right amount of poetic justice, what if it were all synchronized to happen on September 11th -- two months before the elections in America?

    That looks distinctly red to me.
  2. Consider that for almost two years since the inauguration of the 45th president, the United States' Department of Justice has been investigating the hijinks, crimes and intrigues involved in the election of 2016, and that while much has been discovered about Democrats and somewhat dismissed about Republicans, there has been virtually nothing in the way of prosecution of any culprits. Especially notable has been the absence of any litigation targeting Hillary Clinton by Jeff Sessions. One reason could be that there's no case to be prosecuted. But what if such a prosecution would have far more effect if it were launched closer to election day?  Even her most ardent supporters couldn't take it if Hillary Clinton were in a courthouse just weeks before an election. Following the foreign shock of September 11th, I'd venture to say that announcing a criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton on October 15th seems just about right.

    That also looks a bit reddish to me, as well.
Of course, I could be wrong. Imagination is never about certainty. It's more about possibility.  It's there to cushion the shocks we experience when reality hits us where we least expect.

We live in strange, surprising times. It's possible that some of this could happen.  It's even more possible none of it ever will.  But like I said, sometimes you have to use a little imagination to see things from a radically different perspective.

Personally, I suspect a big red wave coming. But maybe it won't. One thing I have learned is that timing is everything -- particularly when November 6th falls so neatly in line with September 11th and October 15th.

As the bean counters with the spreadsheets say, what if?


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