Lee Iacocca is speaking at the Take Back America 2007 Conference that Michael Melillo and I are attending next week. His appearance is related to his book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
He has said it more plainly than anyone:
Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”
Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!
You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don’t need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?
I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have.
My friends tell me to calm down. They say, “Lee, you’re eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people.” I’d love toâ€”as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I’m going to speak up because it’s my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I’ll tell you how I see it, and it’s not pretty, but at least it’s real. I’m hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don’t vote because they don’t trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.
I intend to hand an envelope to Mr. Iacocca telling him that the Blogosphere is behind him and that there are untapped resources that were unimaginable at the time he inked his book contract, that our worldâ€“yours and mineâ€“moves that fast. And that in that dynamism is the chance to make a greater difference than any of us can imagine. The fact is that Lee Iacocca needs us more than we need him, and he knows it.
In that envelope, I want to present letters from as many of you as possible. Since Lee is old school (a state I resonate with), these letters should be proofread and sensible and compelling. Naturally, I’ll include a link to an index so he can peruse our thoughts online. If he has an associate with him, I’ll hand the same envelope to him/her.
So, send me a PDF of a letter you would like Lee Iacocca to glance at or, if it grabs his attention, maybe even read. Send it to email@example.com.
If you want to be taken seriously, mock up a letterhead, which people of Lee’s age and experience relate to better than plain text. The usual Executive Suite standards apply: one page, lots of white space, demonstrating that you took the time to be concise.
Present your credentials, which are probably more impressive than you think, ’cause these Rich White Guys are beginning to get it that they don’t know how to get a large group of people to do anything, unless they’re employees.
And we do.