Mission Accomplished? Not So Much…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, May 5, 2008

At certain points in my life I’ve been absolutely positive that I would never like girls, eat a tomato, or carry a cell phone. I’ve been convinced that the NBA would never let the Detroit Pistons beat their precious Celtics and Lakers to win a championship. I’ve thought a Democrat would never be elected President (think Mondale/Dukakis years). I truly believed the band Wild Cherry had something going with that “Play That Funky Music” hit and were really going places. I thought Three’s Company to be a better quality show than M*A*S*H (although, in my defense, it was the later years of M*A*S*H and I had gotten over the idea of never liking girls — or at least their jiggly parts). And I was without doubt that I was lookin’ tasty when I went off to an 8th grade dance at Holy Redeemer in a silk shirt, platform shoes, and polyester slacks pulled tight with an extra wide belt to my barely 20-inch waist. I could go on. But the common thread here is that I stated these beliefs publicly, and I was wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.

For a different kind of wrong (let’s call this one “tragically”), this week’s comic was timed to the five year anniversary of President Bush’s infamous landing and speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln under the “Mission Accomplished” banner. As much as the administration has tried to weasil out the intentions of the banner (“We intended it only to mean this particular ship’s mission.” Riiiight.), it was clear it meant, “this Iraq thing is over, let’s throw an oil party.”

Similarly, our Michigan state government thought it had solved our business tax issue last fall when it killed the hated Single Business Tax and then scrambled with unnecessary haste because of political brinksmanship to come up with the Michigan Business Tax. Done! And there was much rejoicing. But wait, as taxes came due this year, some business’s taxes went up. Government officials were shocked, shocked! and proceeded to promise hearings to look into the matter …and there has been no more talk of having the issue solved.

Well this has been very therapeutic. I don’t feel nearly as embarrassed about myself — except for the cell phone thing. What certitudes have you proclaimed and later regretted?…

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