The Crimson Tide Knows No Borders.
A PRAYER that we remember — now and again — that war knows no real winners. The spoils spoil, and the scars get passed down.
This has been quite the 48 hours. On Sunday, had a nearly religious experience that I’ll write about in a later post. Yesterday I had a chat with my old friend Polina Hanin, whose family is #Russian. She reminded me — and I’m ashamed to say it had not hit me quite so pointedly until she did so — that the carnage currently and yet to hit the Russian economy will be on the backs of the everyday folks who live and work there.
The wealthiest, who face the inconvenience of moving their yachts or unloaded shares in sports franchises, can afford the hit. But if we think 6–7% inflation bites here in the U.S., imagine how 20–30% feels. It should not have taken a conversation to spark empathy, but I’m grateful for her perspective and therefore wanted to share it here.
Polina also made me recall the tremendous experience I had some years ago, traveling to Moscow with treasured friends Lisa Suennen , Missy Krasner, Milena Adamian , Jack Young , Esther Dyson , Pascal Lardier , Kristin Baker Spohn, and Alexander Elenskiy (did I leave anyone out, guys?) — to present on healthcare innovation at the SKOLKOVO Business School.
In her post after the trip, Lisa summarized our shared experience perfectly: “My knowledge of Russian culture and business is derived largely from college history classes, occasional CNN snippets about governmental intrigue and failed diplomacy, space exploration news and James Bond movies.” What I found there was the opposite: Moscow was among the most glamorous, gilded, metropolitan places I had visited (and I am privileged to have have traveled widely). One could go back yearly or more and not feel like one had had enough; it felt like Paris with a different alphabet. Classy and welcoming hosts; delectable food; I’m not allowed to talk about the belly dancing at the restaurant. 😜 Lisa painted a perfect picture of our experience. Check out out her essay, “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE,” below:
The Hebrew Bible says: “There came into Egypt a Pharaoh who did not know.” Know where else that quote comes up? The film “Wall Street.”
'"There came into Egypt a Pharaoh who did not know." I beg...' - Wall Street quote
Carl Fox: "There came into Egypt a Pharaoh who did not know." Gordon Gekko: I beg your pardon, is that a proverb? Carl…
We should keep in mind what the late Carnegie Mellon Professor Lester Lave called the “Iron Law of Government” (an ironic name in light of current events, and a quote made ironic by the fact that he was a scholar of green energy!). Namely: “When government gets involved, everybody loses.”
There is so much noise around us that we forget: political intrigue is not daily life. We are not living in a scene from “Wag the Dog” — this is what Polina reminded me. The pain of war — in blood, post-traumatic stress, and economic calamity — will transcend borders. Innovations will spring up later like flowers after fire, but not for some time. What happens in Congress does not reflect life in Washington, D.C. Wall Street casts an outsized shadow on America’s largest city — in a state with more rural spaces that most people realize, even when they live there — a city that also has some of our country’s highest concentrations of chronic disease and social determinant challenges. Connecticut may be the land of the hedge fund — but it also struggles with drug use. Globally, the Twitterization of our attention span makes us MORE susceptible to propaganda, not less so. Emotions block our view.
War is the EPITOME of the human deficiency to recognize patterns. It is the quintessence of obstinacy; it embodies the breakdown in reason and that negotiations have failed. Liberal political philosophy holds that government exists to save people from themselves. In laissez faire form, it comprises the Social Safety Net but little else. (#MobileMedicine #Fire #EMS is that safety net, so this should resonate with folks in our industry more than it does….)
What happens when governments punish one another and innocents get caught in the crossfire? I pray that we remember: Each of us is more than how we vote; we are infinitely more complex than the insignia on our passport, whose delegates may not realize (or care) how we feel about their decisions. The choice of whether to fill the tank — in the car or in the belly — is a Devil’s Bargain that none should have to make in a world that fancies itself modern.