It is just simply amazing to me that any of us still have our wits about us after being deluged by so much negativity on a daily, no, hourly basis. Day after day, no matter where we look or what we listen to, we seem to be constantly exposed to it.

When I fell to sleep this last Sunday night, my thoughts were focused on what could be done to straighten this malaise out that we seem to be stuck in. My thoughts wandered back to my early days when I would travel for a living and would tout around this box-like device they called an “Apple Macintosh Portable Computer.” I didn’t know much about computers, still don’t if the truth be known, but I do manage to get by since I first started using one in 1984.

A gentleman named Larry McLaughlin, who was the Mid-West Regional Manager, brought one of those machines and showed it to us all at one of our meetings in Chicago. Larry loved gadgets and would spend hours with his nose stuck in magazines. Nothing wrong with that, for computer technology would eventually make our jobs more productive. Mind you, I had been working just fine since about 1977 without one, but he convinced our new National Sales Manager this would be a great idea. I didn’t buy it and strenuously voiced my opinion and was joined by at least two others. Our opinions were quickly overridden by our new National Sales Manager who came to us with little or no experience in our field.

On the second day of our sales meeting, Larry began to demonstrate the value of his new toy. Unfortunately for Larry, his box quit working about halfway through his demonstration. The screen appeared to “lock-up,” leaving him totally frustrated as corporate hovered around the tan box and its screen and keyboard which just sat there.

After about 20 minutes of this nonsense, I rose from my chair and walked to the front of the room. With all eyes transfixed on me, I politely moved to the back of the machine, followed the cord to the electrical outlet and unplugged it. After about 30 seconds, I plugged it back in and it roared to life. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself. But I never did win any points with our new boss, which was ok since he was gone in about 6 months.

Now the point of this story revolves around my thoughts from this last Sunday evening. I was thinking how easy it might be if the world had a cord somewhere that we could just disconnect for 30 seconds or so to reboot this place we all love so much. Yes, I know its a simplistic solution to what appears to be insurmountable problems facing the world, but it did work for that computer. I guess I should admit I used to do that to my VCR when it would malfunction, so I did think it might have been a reasonable solution to the frozen screen on the Macintosh computer and it work, at least that one time.

Our world, our nation and even our little community here on Marco Island are facing some significant challenges. There are no simple solutions to them, but if we allow them to continue, they will spin out of control and then we will have serious consequences that we must deal with eventually.

The world looks for leadership from our nation, as it has for well over 100 years. That steady hand and reasoned thought process is missing, as is the confidence of our Allies. We appear to be adrift, while others look to take advantage of the void in leadership.

It appears that same leadership in Washington, D.C. is also seriously lacking on domestic matters, and it has been that way for some time now. We have spent ourselves into an economic calamity over the last couple of years. Have we learned nothing from the past? The trillions of dollars we’ve thrown at problems have merely ignited the fires of inflation, which are burning a hole in our citizens’ wallets, eventually suffocating the American Dream.

Choosing to shut off our own supply of oil and natural gas while pursuing a pipedream that we will jump into a new mode of transportation without proper planning and execution is a disaster in the making. It can’t be done without further crippling the national economy, and we need to quickly come to our senses. Don’t misinterpret my thoughts, I don’t resist alternate energy sources, only the reckless implementation of a poorly planned strategic initiative such as this.

The elections in 2022 and 2024 will fix nothing so long as we send back to Washington the same old tired folks; People that have spent 20, 30, 40 and more years sitting in the seat they feel entitled to. Those seats belong to the American people and are on loan to those who temporarily sit in them to deal with the challenges facing this great nation. 

Our own community is tearing itself apart because our elected officials failed to deal with an issue that they understood needed to be addressed but they lacked the political will to do something about. The rhetoric has reached forest fire intensity on both sides and threatens to burn down the very house we look to protect.

The loss of the great sense of community that I saw in 1986 when I purchased here is in jeopardy from the influx of PAC monies, the distortion of the truth and the attacks on individuals. Folks, we need to take a breath and look for that cord so we can unplug and reset our lives before it is too late. These challenges can be overcome if we have the courage to face them and work together to solve them.



Steve Stefanides, is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Contact him by email at

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