In the 1980s, Ford Motor Company ran an extensive ad campaign that closed with various forms of the phrase “At Ford, Quality is Job 1.” The context for that, of course, was public concern about the quality of American cars compared to those built in Japan and in Germany. Ford and other US car makers had allowed the actual and perceived quality of their cars to slip steadily in the ’70s and early ’80s, and consumers voted with their feet and their wallets. Ford certainly used the slogan to communicate to customers but also to rally its employees around the importance of producing great cars each and every day.
It is my belief that we are in the midst of something similar happening – except now the issue is not as trivial as the reputation of a company – now it is about the future of our country. Without being melodramatic, we have allowed the state of democracy in America to slip into disrepair and the time has come to declare fixing it as Job #1. To be clear, this is not a post about democrats versus republicans, liberals versus conservatives, or politics in general. Instead, it is about the core civic principles that have driven our country for over 240 years and enabled us to achieve some level of “greatness.” Government representatives, business leaders, and engaged citizens need to rally to the cause to save those core principles.
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