Wait & See … ?

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If the light at the end of the tunnel is really a train coming down the track, “wait and see” is a really bad idea.

But they say, “Patience is a virtue,” don’t they? It seems patience is a two-edged sword. Patience can be a virtue for the vintner waiting for a great wine to age in the bottle. Or, patience can be the excuse of a coward who would rather run than fight a worthy fight.

And sometimes patience is for the lazy who would rather let somebody else do a deed while they sit back and accept whatever comes their way… those are the people who make themselves victims of circumstances by mistaking laziness for patience.

So, “Wait and see” is a tricky business. It is both necessary and risky. Patience has to make friends with activism to be of any value.

This week the Jamestown Gazette tackles today’s hot issue of tariffs and asks, “Do you trust the person in the driver’s seat enough to wait and see, or do you need to grab the wheel and try to steer the ship yourself?”

Some of our readers congratulate the current administration for knowing that patience is exhausted and the time for strong action has come. Others counsel more patience and diplomacy, citing the ancient caution that warns, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

This week we offer some tools to help decide between “Wait and see” and “Grab the wheel and steer” in the growing controversy between alarm and approval over tariffs. It is a subject most of us have rarely thought about before, but we now need to know… lest we let ourselves become the victims of circumstance.

The most important tool is knowledge. Many of the popular media today offer opinions and feelings presented as if they were facts. But as a popular radio talk-show host once said, “Beware! Feelings don’t have an IQ.”

We need two things to form our own opinions:

  1. Facts from people who are directly involved and,
  2. We need to study it for ourselves.

Though our survey of local community, government and industry leaders is admittedly unofficial and small, they are informed and willing to share their observations.

Naturally, international tariffs cannot be fully explained in our 1100 word cover story. So please go to the website mentioned in paragraph 6 and inform yourself. Then look farther, skipping the popular opinion leader sites. Go directly to the sources in government and industry. Warning: That is hard because we are all already far too used to accepting predigested media opinions. Note that we are in the middle of a “Comment Period” in which your government invites you to grab the wheel and help steer the ship of state.

Some people give up in despair feeling that their opinion is merely a teaspoon-sized rudder powerless to steer the great ship. But a functioning democracy depends on millions of those. The alternative is a dictatorship which is perfectly acceptable, even preferred by the cowardly and lazy who find the fact-finding work too hard.

So, this week your Jamestown Gazette invites our readers to take the one step further, the step that combines patience with activism: perseverance. Stay personally involved.

Samuel Johnson, witty essayist and literary historian of 18th century England, once said, “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”

As the paperboy on the street corner used to call out to the passing crowds, “Read all about it!”

Enjoy the read.

— Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.