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are you willing to listen to what makes you uncomfortable? join tom and rp’s conversation with dr. christine crawford to learn more about covid and her personal insights regarding how the nation is handling it. dr. Crawford received her doctorate in science and epidemiology from Harvard University and also spent time at the CDC.
tom scott is chairman & co-founder of the nantucket project. rp eddy was the architect of the Clinton administration’s pandemic response framework and the United Nations response to the global AIDS epidemic & is CEO of global intelligence firm Ergo.
rp is co-author of the best-selling award-winning book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes with Richard A. Clarke, Former National Security Council counterterrorism adviser.
[00:00:21] I want to welcome Dr Kristine Crawford. Christine, thank you for being with us. I want to say in advance that you asked us to call you Christine, so we’re not going to call you Dr. Throughout.
[00:00:34] But, you know, it’s funny.
[00:00:37] I’m not sure that if you are on the first try in February of 2020, if you ask me what is epidemiology, I might not get it right on the first try. I think I get it right after that, but not on the first try.
[00:00:50] And. And now I’ve learned quite a bit. You know, I’ve largely through our P.A. who, you know, built the first sort of pandemic response plan. I know who was the first Arpey, but certainly, you know, in the 90s in the Clinton administration had built a big and effective plan, including warehouses full of PDP and arbitrary PPE.
[00:01:13] TPP is the finance thing, is it PPE, PPE, PPE and ventilators and such a.
[00:01:22] Yeah, so it’s been a journey and I was saying to somebody this morning, you know, I’m going to guess we’re in ballpark ages. And for me, as a 54 year old, these three months have been the most profound three months of my life. And, you know, it’s it’s certainly in part impacted by covered by business challenges, by life challenges, by family issues. By George Floyd. There’s just so much happening at this moment that it makes it so intense. And, you know, it’s not all bad. There’s a really powerful mix of hope, fear, challenge, opportunity in the middle, all this. And I’m going to do like a one second thing on your bio, which please fill in any blanks. But, you know, you have an interesting mix of, you know, you’re from the South, you from are you from Augusta, Georgia, or just across from Augusta, Georgia? I grew up in Aiken, South Carolina.
[00:02:27] Yeah, but you’re a doctor of science and epidemiology from Harvard and you have a B.S. in Natural Sciences. You graduated from Spelman College. And, you know, so you would think, oh, she must be a doctor or whatever. And you did time at the CDC. But then you also became a you ran a number of franchises for McDonald’s, which is, you know, an American institution of in so many ways. And you were also very successful in that realm and over time added a number of franchises in your tenure. And are you still doing that, by the way, now?
[00:03:02] So I sold some McDonald’s was actually the family business. My mom was going to franchisee for about 15 years. So when I came and joined, so it’s a story of family business, but also the second generation woman owned family business as well, but also in about two years.
[00:03:23] And how many did you have at the time? We had seven. OK. And have you seen what’s the movie called about Ray Kroc?
[00:03:30] What’s it called? What do you think of that? Tell me what you thought of that.
[00:03:33] It’s interesting. If you read his autobiography, he actually was very transparent about kind of a lot of his darkness, as you know. And so it wasn’t quite as dark as maybe he actually was. And I think what’s just as an aside, I think as Americans, we don’t appreciate that, you know, people can do good things and have other things that they wrestle with in the complexity of all of us. We just want a shiny, pretty happy story. So I think even the founders showed that, you know, Happy Meals may matter have come or developed in the way they grew. It did not grow in the way that people thought it would.
[00:04:19] Yeah. You know, for me, of any drama I’ve ever seen scripted, it was the best representation of what a startup is like that I’ve ever seen.
[00:04:31] And, you know, they paint those stories between he and the brothers as being like very black and white. And the fact of the matter is, it all makes sense to me. I mean, you know, he had to make some tough decisions and they had to make some tough decisions. And, you know, were they all made, right? Probably not. But I don’t think they were all made like just totally as malignant badness as you’re saying right now.
[00:04:55] I mean, people are complicated and processes are complicated. Right. Dehumanize and all of it. And at the end of the day, if he had gone bankrupt, you know, then the brothers would have said, well, we made more than we ever thought. But he didn’t. And so then the story looks very different.
[00:05:13] So, yeah, you know, when I graduated from college, I went to see a guy who I very much respected as a business person. And he and, you know, I was talking about the different choices and I thought about getting an MBA.
[00:05:24] And he said, work at McDonald’s.
[00:05:28] And I and I was a little like, well, what do you mean? And he’s like, go work on McDonald’s. Like, you want to really learn about business, go work McDonald’s. It’s the best place to learn. And I didn’t do it, by the way, and take his advice. But it stayed with me and I get it. I mean, it makes sense. Does that advice make sense to you?
[00:05:44] So I referred to my time at McDonald’s as the most expensive MBA ever, because you really do learn about the operations and the nuts and bolts of selling and how complicated it is just to get a cheeseburger right across the counter. And so you learn all of those very operational pieces. But then being a piece of McDonald’s in this large corporate community, then you also have insights into supply chain and things that are very strategic in a much larger level than you typically would in a business just as a small business owner in your local community. So it’s really, I think, the best of both worlds. So it’s getting to see very functional. How do I manage, inspire, take care of my employees in my town. In my home. Right. As well as what does it look like for marketing decisions, menu items. So things that are much higher of you as well. It’s it’s a it’s such great place to learn about this.
[00:06:47] Yes. You know, when I read the bio there, you know, there’s some part of it that, you know, on on on its surface, you think, well, how could this somebody who, you know, has a doctorate in science end up, you know, running McDonald’s is and I don’t know how you say that word. McDonald’s I multiple McDonald’s and I get it.
[00:07:09] But on the other hand, I think. Yeah, well, OK. That, you know, it’s just as likely as an artist might run a great McDonald’s as a scientist, might run a great McDonald’s. That to me is like business. Is that kind of a thing, you know, where you get lots of different kinds of people could successfully run an organization. And the richness of it all is definitely interesting, but I don’t think of it as ironic.
[00:07:31] Does that make sense? No. Think it’s interesting because people say, well, how could you? And initially it is. It’s all, I think, stewardship and how you choose to serve your community. And so the thing about public health that was attractive to me was it wasn’t this kind of let me do this experiment on a flatworm, because there may be some implications eventually. And it was this place where I could see immediately how research and work in science could make an impact. And running a McDonald’s is that it is you know, you get kids when they’re 60, you have adults, sometimes adults who had some challenges. But that ability to help someone through, you know, seeing and working with them every day and all of the things that they taught and gave me that back and forth in that helping one another is the same. Right? Just that that my my room or my mechanism to doing so changed.
[00:08:41] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:08:44] I want to shift into this sort of this macro thing I opened with, which is just like Kovik generally. I’d like to talk a little bit about that before I do. Arpey if there’s anything you want to talk about McDonald’s. We go back to McDonald’s later, too. But I come on in the conversation, RPN, and let’s we can talk McDonald’s. But I want to sort of talk about the big Cauvin thesis and then I won’t talk specifically what’s going on. The world covered was Christine.
[00:09:06] It’s nice to meet you. Hope the audio’s OK here. I can tell you on a road trip with three boys and I hear the word McDonald’s about every 15 minutes. Can we stop out? Where’s the next one? Aren’t they the best? And last night we had to stop at an Arby’s and it was like tears and we couldn’t find a McDonald’s. But the American institution.
[00:09:31] Nice of you, too, as well. Yeah.
[00:09:34] So, Christine, I’m curious just I mean, this has been a phenomenon, right? A three month or more phenomenon in the United States. Can you just react to it on that very high level? Like how has this been for you navigating all this, looking at all this?
[00:09:51] So I think initially I was very angry for a couple of weeks. I felt as if I’m having been a part of the Centers for Disease Control and I was at the IRS office. So we did outbreak investigations and responded to public health emergencies. And so knowing what we can do and the talent that’s there for it, I couldn’t understand what was happening. Right. And so I was very frustrated by the response very candidly. And I think I just didn’t get it right. I just did not get how we weren’t reacting different and how the systems that we had in place weren’t being used. And public health. Normally, there’s this beautiful dance that occurs between the federal government and state departments of public health. And it’s this back and forth. And I just very removed from it, though, but didn’t see it. And I was like, OK. So why are the things that should be happened, you know how to do? Why aren’t they? And so for years, the Centers for Disease Control in the United States has been seen as the public health response period. And so to hear it silenced, it caused me great pain. And I think some of that frustration still lingers because I feel as if we’ve gotten to a point where we just accept that we’re going to have two hundred thousand Americans who have passed from this. All right. As if it had to be this way. And so that caused me great anger and grief and frustration at certain points. I think one thing that I did not see coming was this whole idea of his business against public health and it being this tension and versus and so having been in both worlds, I understand why they don’t quite get one right. So as public healthy ball. And so we make decisions. But there’s an understanding that we’re always accumulating more debt. Right. And so what we know we’re making a recommendation based on what we know today. But that may change tomorrow. It certainly may change a week from now as we gather more information, because the more information we add, the better decision we can make with things change. And so it’s not that we didn’t know what we were talking about. It’s that we’ve gotten new information and we’re making a different decision. And so I understand that that is hard. We’re in business. Oftentimes you make decisions and you write it out. We try to add or if you know something happen, you don’t overcommunicate it. You fix it. Right. And then you keep moving. But in public health, there’s this need to constantly communicate because you need the data that city, the towns information that needs to be accumulated. And so and I think making the environment of the United States of our country safe for people to say, I have hope. Right. So just things like encouraging earlier in the epidemic for people to say, Heddon really people to say, OK, I have it. And if you were around me when I went to church on, you know, the Sunday before it became public. If I want everyone to know because I think I remembered everybody I was in contact with, but I’m not sure. And we didn’t even create an environment to help people do that. We got stuck talking about promis laws and restrictions and not just how do we take care of each other. And I just don’t know how that.
[00:13:48] Yeah. You know, the way you were characterizing Ray Kroc, which is that there’s nuance and there’s there’s layers to all these different people and that and that’s what we talk about in that case. But that’s true of organizations as well. And Arpey, I don’t know if you agree with this, but I think the impression that, you know, the modern right has and it’s maybe been true in the right for a long period of time and others, too, is that there’s a general incompetence to government and that therefore it shouldn’t be listened to. And yet I know from people I trust, having not spent a lot of time there, that the qualities of people within places like the CDC is so high and most of us don’t know that. And the usefulness of something like the CDC is generally just not understood. It’s not even misunderstood. It’s just kind of not understood generally. And again, I’m generalizing and I’m generalizing to an extent on the right. But I guess I think I’m generalizing overall, but I don’t.
[00:14:36] So this is so as a business person, right. If you run a company, you listen to what your marketing department touch. You may not understand how jockeys are measured. They usually spend a certain amount on X number of GOP. You do. And so why it is then that you can’t trust that scientists and folks who have expertize in coming up with numbers in another way and this other realm might know what they’re talking about? Frustrates me because business people always talk about show me the numbers, show me the data. Well, if someone shows you the numbers, even if you don’t understand how they came up with them, at some point, you have to trust it. Right. But then exit and try to figure out which piece of it you can’t understand. It’s not foreign language. And then I said, let me acknowledge this frustration. Well, oftentimes those of us who do that work don’t understand how things happen day to day in running businesses and what it takes to get the doors open and what it means to be responsible for those who work with us and their farm. Right. And so we oftentimes don’t understand. We need very discrete points of data to make hard decisions around that. But there’s got to be a place that we communicate and understand and trust one another. And that that has just made me woefully sad because we could be amazing if business a public works like that. That’s. Because that would be the most effective way of communicating in terms of plans around prevention around even when people aren’t feeling well. People go to work every day. And so what if we actually work together on this as opposed to just discounting? Yeah.
[00:16:33] How do you react to that, Arpey? It’s it’s it’s fascinating. Listen, you talk about your former employee, Christine. You know, and you’re a great example of the people I worked with at CDC. And there’s there’s three running three organizations in the U.S. government that I hold in very high esteem that most people usually don’t. CDC, Public Health Service and the Coast Guard, it’s three organizations. We will get government salaries. They put themselves at risk and they’re simply trying to help other people. Now, were we fetishize the Delta Force, the SEALs, you know, the CIA, the FBI. Those are all great organizations, too. But CDC, Public Health Service, U.S. Coast Guard trying to help other people doing it in harm’s way and again, getting paid very little for it. And I was heartbroken how poorly CDC did in the beginning and still in this epidemic. And I researched it. I talked to my friends there. And I, I basically, I think, you know, relined. I think, you know, you get what you pay for. We’ve underfunded government for decades. And so you have an organization that doesn’t have the fight that the financing it needs. It made a really serious misstep on testing right off the bat. And then I just I can’t imagine it’s like working there while you have a president making anti factual anti science proclamations from the Oval Office. No, these are career people who are very used to serving the president. These are an executive branch, obviously. And the president is their ultimate boss. Period. Full stop. So it’s got to be very, very hard. But the failures have been very serious. Talking to some friends who work there, there’s a spirit of being disheartened. Yet they’re still in the fight and this is what they signed up to do. So I think it’s amazing. And, you know, you’re you’re you’re a further point about this moment we’re in of a.. Expertize ism a. facts, alternative facts, complexity, mismatch. It’s this is a really, really hard time to try to bring the nuance, the sacrifice necessary to look at the disease and do it properly. You know, I was just sitting there. I’ll leave it at their distress. I’ll leave it there for now to reply to your comments on CDC.
[00:18:44] It’s makes me very sad.
[00:18:48] They literally had errors on their Web site. Right. Like when in the history of that organization, do they put information up on the Web site that they had to retract?
[00:18:56] Now, that’s shocking to me. Same with WHL, of course, too.
[00:19:02] Do you do you guys think of that? And, Christine, one of the things about this show is that we we try not to delve into politics because we just don’t want to be part of that noise. And, you know, sometimes it requires a certain amount of strength. The dam burst a couple of weeks ago largely. Because the guy in charge sort of went too far and just speaking personally, I sort of went off on the guy.
[00:19:29] So you have a little bit more license now to call the than we did before. And I really we do that for having nothing to do with taking sides, but just to create clarity for people so they can calmly think about what is a really challenging thing that being covered. Do you look at the your frustration? Does it come from the top?
[00:19:48] No, it does. It does. I think.
[00:19:56] There are some. So let me manage. So working for the federal government was frustrating for me in lots of ways. So a lot of the things that are talked about being underfunded there being a lack of appreciation for your work in this large institution. But the benefit of this large institution that is, you know, may not get back. It’s institutional, not right. So to disregard the work and the sacrifice and the sheer brilliance that lives in those buildings, those people, I just had a problem and I couldn’t understand. I mean, you would. We would not discount to the knowledge the ability of our armed forces in any way. So I don’t understand why you discount. This is recruiters, the practitioners that had been doing this work for. So they are not. I get you don’t agree with it in the way in which to use the information in them to do so. There could be a way to use that. And I think when people mess up, when institutions mess up, they’re yours. Right. So the city stays. Failures are all about. And it’s not. And it is a government institution. And so as a leader, I think you have. Some responsibility to acknowledge and then fix it again, acknowledging it. Which is why we often talk about how business leaders need to be, you know, in politics. Right, because we have now the problems. We fix it and we strive to make things better. All right. That’s what we want our politicians to do. So when you’re given that opportunity, then you do. And you leave and you expect that your leader has your back when you mess up. And helps you fix it and grow forward to that, it doesn’t undermine all of your previous. And I don’t know that that piece of leadership.
[00:22:17] So can you guys can either one of you guys or maybe both you guys speculate what’s going on? What why? Why is there this? Disconnect, is it is it the individual?
[00:22:30] Well, I think Christine makes a huge point, right? And I haven’t heard anyone say it’s Christine. The CDC is our organization. The president is our president. We’ve talked a lot about how we have to take leadership at the individual level, the family level, the business level, regardless of if our government is leading or not. It’s incumbent on all of us in the face of disease to do that. That’s just a fact. We’re not used to that. We’re used to maybe it’s a nanny state, whatever it is we’re used to in some instances, the government taking care of lots of things. And I think we’ve also become kind of dispossessed of what the government is. So as much as the CDC as our org. I think we’re also learning the police departments are artwork’s, too, and they should do what the citizens want. We talked about skop citizen on patrol. You know, CDC, our citizens also that are serving us. So if they’re failing, it’s our fault ultimately. I think that’s an awesome point. What’s happening there is a long history of presidents second guessing their kind of experts. Right. There’s a long history of of Abraham Lincoln taking over some of the war plans during the Civil War because he thought his generals weren’t aggressive enough. There’s a long history of Winston Churchill being deferential to his leaders, but ultimately pushing him when he had to. This president has both been quoted as saying, I know more about Iraq than the generals do. And then I think I have a really great head for science. I understand this stuff. People say I could have been a doctor. And today he announced the disease is going away in faith in the completely flying in the face of every single piece of evidence. So we’re just not used to having such a very, very different person in the White House than we’ve had through every single presidency. I can think of where the president is just abjectly wrong, abjectly obstinate, constantly randomizing with his tweets and his comments on every topic, particularly on this one. So when I say we’re not used to it, was that matter. It means if you’re running the CDC or you’re running any any part of the US government, you don’t have a playbook on what to do when your ultimate boss, who can not only fire you, but worse, is countermanding disregarding everything you’re saying. So that’s just got to be profoundly hard. And you need to find leaders who can step up and try to fight against that. Every person who’s tried to do that in this administration has been fired and embarrassed on the way out. So I don’t actually know how you can be a hero for more than a day in this administration because you’re gone as soon as you try to be. We’ve noticed that Foushee has not been at any of the public health briefings lately. A friend of his says that’s because he only wants to speak the truth and doesn’t want to be there when lies are being said. Who knows? But we also know and Fouchier said so himself. He wants to be part of this conversation. He wants to help lead the Saudis train for his whole life. I think those of us who have any insight into the man think he’s highly competent. And so he has to measure politically how he behaves, what he does so that he doesn’t get kicked out of the game. You know, he’s in there, like many leaders, trying to modify, moderate and lead a president who is completely resistant to it. So this is this is a brand new puzzle and one that effectively we’re failing at. And look, this is what our governments designed for. The government is designed in this instance for a very powerful executive. Now, he has extraordinary authority. He’s using it, but by omission. He’s using it by not doing anything, by handing the leadership down to the states. And then, by the way, today. Today we’re announcing governors handed down to the mayors. Right. So I think people are doing this as if they’re waving the flag and promoting federalism. You know, the president saying all it’s federalist system. I’m going to give it to the states now. No governors saying I’ll give it to the mayors. I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to work. That’s to me, that’s a. That’s throwing away your responsibilities. Sorry, Tom. No problem.
[00:26:30] Did you ever imagine, Christine, that. Epidemiology would play such a big role in this historic moment. How much does this surprise you or did you think one day this is coming?
[00:26:43] No, I didn’t see this coming. I thought that I would spend the rest of my life. Explain to people what epidemiology is right. So it gets up. So what is that again? And so the fact that I will never, ever have to tell anyone what an epidemiologist does again is so I am shocked and saddened that we had to learn about it in this way. But public health is one of those things where you don’t know about it until something goes wrong. Right. And so it has always been my concern that we’ll keep defunding and defunding because we don’t understand how it works. And then by the time we realize woofs pushed it too far. It’s because we are in the middle of a public health emergency. Now, did I think that the public health emergency would be this pandemic? Did I think that the US’s response would be what it is that the lives lost in this country would be what it is?
[00:27:44] Not at all.
[00:27:45] Yeah, there is a long history of politics, both showing its best face during disease outbreaks and its worst face. There’s a number of wars that paused so children could get immunized. But, of course, the history of HIV and political response is, you know, horrendous, horrendous through our country, obviously. Also, throughout other infected nations, I’ve worked with a number of leaders of states who are in denial about HIV. And I’ve seen diplomats get in shouting matches with South Africa diplomats, swasey diplomats, Vatican diplomats about how they could deny what’s going on with HIV. So politics and disease often are pretty ugly bedfellows. And we’re I mean, look, would this be would we see a very different response from Trump if this was the first year of his presidency and he wasn’t so laser focused on getting reelected in so short sighted? Maybe maybe then he would say, look, I got a couple of years to work it out, but this election is looming and it’s it’s clearly panicking him and he doesn’t do well, period. He certainly doesn’t do well under panic. So politics and disease can be very, very dangerous. And look, let’s just remember, oh, three weeks ago, we were talking about how we’re going to see a lot of second guessing. So three weeks ago or whatever it was, we came out of our quarantine, depending where you were. We we we saw the economy come back. We had better economic unemployment numbers for non African-Americans two weeks ago. And I saw a lot of Wall Street people say, I can’t believe we locked down. This was such a fiasco, such a Schrade, so unnecessary. This is silly. It’s just a bad flu. And they were very happy to get back. The market showed that optimism. We’ll look at where we are today and we should probably touch on where we are today at some point, Tom. All the news today on the disease is bad. Even where I’m sitting in Wyoming, their caseload is going up. So it’s it’s going up now in 23 states. It was 21 yesterday, 20 a few days before that. We may not get that second big, huge spike. We should probably ask Christine about this, but I would love to have that conversation, too.
[00:29:56] Yeah. Well, let’s do it.
[00:29:58] I mean, it’s some you know, you taught me this Arpey. And, you know, it’s powerful to hear you discuss it, Christine, because I probably fall into the camp of, like, suspicion of too big a government. Right. That’s just been who I’ve been historically and over time, like anything else. The truth is in the nuance and that there’s always, you know, there’s layers to these things. These things are complicated. And I think more than anything else, I have a stronger appreciation for expertize than I did before. And I’m not going to say that I was like on the loony fringe of this way of thinking. But, you know, it it made me wonder. And as a business person myself, you know, when I when you feel the crust form in a business, it’s just a matter of time. Right. So I’m trained that way to be constantly wondering, like, keep it fresh, keep it fresh, keep it fresh. But here we are. And everything I’ve learned over the last several months, I mean, we keep using the analogy that member the pool in the Ozarks where they showed all those people in the pool and half the country got so pissed at them for being so close to each other while I see that down the street. Now, you know, I’m seeing this kind of behavior everywhere. And so mathematically, I think, okay, the numbers are going to go back up like it did. And unless somehow, like, the sun is shining more brightly than it used to and the movie lights killing it in crazy ways, I don’t know how it’s not possible that we’re gonna have big growth. To what place? I don’t know. But how do you react to that? What Arpey said, which is the trends are now moving in the direction. We don’t want them to move in.
[00:31:28] But we’re doing all of the things that we know not to do. And so it is and I think some of this is just our very American ability to say that that rule doesn’t apply to me. Right. So, you know, it was still a very. We are centered on the individual right. And so it does it will have a get together and it’s family members. So we know we’re not supposed to have to. But they’re my family. I want to see. Right. So that doesn’t count. And so we have all of these exceptions to rules in our head that we’re applied to this situation. And it is. And then, you know, even my parents or my parents are seven. The seven. And y’all help take care of my one hundred five. Your grandmother. So early on, we were very diligent. And my mother was talking about going to the gym. And I was like, why are you going to do. Wow. And she’s like, well, there. Wow. And so it because everyone around you, your trainer is texting you. Well, I’ve got an appointment open if you want to come back once things open. We feel like we’re free and my rights are restored. Let me celebrate by going and having a beer with some of my friends right in this place where there are lots of other people doing the same thing. So we’re so we’re doing the things that we know we’re not supposed to. Because it’s hard to still be that person. It is hard to still be that pastor that says, OK, let’s face it, we can reopen. But because of my congregation and then being seniors, I think it’s best that we stay closed. And it gets harder and harder to do that. So we’re going to see numbers roll as we know. Yeah.
[00:33:25] Well, I think you put that very well it because I think it’s I think for a lot of us as Americans, we don’t know that we’re unique in the world with that sense of individualism. I also think we’ve been pretty good historically at, oh, here comes the ozone. Well, that’s going away. Here comes this next one. Here comes the Russians. Here comes the nukes. Here comes the financial crisis. And, you know, three months later, we’re good again, you know, and I think people are doing that now, like, oh, OK, that was a problem. But that was a problem. That was before.
[00:33:56] Well, the other thing is, I think, though, that with Koban in particular, it’s been easy to discount because it has affected more heavily populations that we don’t. Right. Yes. I think the elderly. So the fact that is running rampant in nursing homes, in institutions, places where we’ve put people over there. Yeah. Means that we don’t have to deal with it. We don’t see it as Pozzuoli and see is OK. You’re old. You are probably going to pass anyway and don’t see the value that that our seniors bring to our villages and the communities of color, because as a person of color, it felt as if, you know, if there was already some resistance to wearing a mask and to being, you know, quarantined herself confined to your home, that the moment that it was, you know, OK, well, was primarily killed in old people and people of color. I’m good. I need to get a haircut.
[00:34:59] We are a part of what’s 100 percent. It’s it’s killing people that are hidden away. Prisons, old folks, homes, all these things we’re not seeing with who they are, where the dying is. We haven’t had the famous people dying yet or at all. Hopefully you won’t. But the thing, Thomas, just reflecting what you’re thinking about American optimism. You know, we’ve had 75 years since the end of World War Two where American optimism was absolutely the right bet. Every time every time we came ripping out of the 08 crisis faster than anybody else, we won the Cold War. You know, you name it. We have not even of the Iraq war, which is a total fiasco, probably cost us a trillion dollars. And the numbers of people killed overseas, non Americans, is in the hundreds of millions, like the ultimate cost of the American invasion of Iraq, the creation of all the devastation there. There was a lot of American soldiers dead, but we still didn’t feel that impact here was felt in other places. Is this the first time? Well, look, let’s be honest. 300000 people might die by October one from this disease in America. That’s that’s not an unreasonable expectation where this disease goes. And that’s not really counting in what happens when flu hits and school starts. That’s that’s a constant trend line of six 700 dead per day till the end of the end of September. Right. Three thousand at that point. Are we going to say Holy Moses like we we are now our city five year win streaks over. Probably not 3000 dead. I think we’re going to again, there are largely hidden away. And I think we’re just going to just a rough ride through it. So I don’t know. I think there’s very reasonable people, you know, Larry, largely business people who have large debt based businesses right now who would sit in this conversation and say, look, let’s be honest, 3000 people, a lot of them were old anyway. It’s OK. We can’t take the other negative impact of shutting down our economy. So I’m not sure if we’re even realizing what a loss this is. I’m not sure we’re realizing how negative this is. 3000 people actually, you know, what’s that statistic? One person’s a tragedy. A million is a statistic. You know, that’s that’s where we are right now. The economic toll is going to be extremely hard. Another study today said it will be 16 trillion dollar economic toll versus a 10 trillion dollar economic toll from 08, meaning real real fortunes lost, real businesses destroyed. But are we going to look at this at the end and believes we lost believe this was an American example where America didn’t come out on top? I don’t know that we will like meaning. Will we get the lesson from this or not? And I’ll last sentence. I have already seen a reduction in enthusiasm from a variety of governments that I work with in business as we work with about spending some money to implement a broad risk awareness, broad warning awareness systems. That was really hot. A few weeks ago now they’re kind of over it and they want to get back to opening the cafeteria in their building. So I don’t know what I don’t know if this should be the big wakeup call that we need more money in government. We need to not be anti expertize, et cetera, or if we’re just completely blind to this kind of thing. And this is sort of the story of the end of empire, just completely ignoring being completely blind to Kostic realities that you create.
[00:38:16] Can we also tie that? So, you know, you talked about people of color. And for me, I you know, the relationship between George Floyd and Koven is like this.
[00:38:28] And how how can I define that scientifically? I don’t think I can. But I think other people sort of understand generally when I came back from my trip, so I’d done this trip where I went to the northern tip and the menu of the Mississippi, drove up there, drove all the way down the Mississippi, drove all the way back through the south. And I was interviewing people along the way. And when I came home, I had this overwhelming sense of when I get back home, the minute I open my mouth, people aren’t gonna understand what I’m saying, because what I saw was, you know, it was hopeful and beautiful in parts, but it was sad and depressing in many ways. And the sense I had was and I’m going it this is too strong a word, but I think a revolution’s coming. That’s what I felt. I thought this cannot stand. I had no idea that George Floyd was about to happen. I didn’t know the revolution was going to come in the form of race, but it did.
[00:39:16] And so, you know, part of what we’re talking about is sort of operational ideas and outcomes. But I think part of what we’re talking about is like the love of each other, you know? And so when you outlined, you know, old folks, homes are surrounded by four walls and an hour marked by age. Race doesn’t have those elements. I mean, it has geographic elements and other elements. But how do we deal with that? Like, how to how do we think about what you just said?
[00:39:46] Well, I mean, I think race is the local movement, right? So it is now over here. And that’s the thing that I don’t have to do. Yeah. Is that. Those folks are also there because they are late, because they have not taken advantage of all that America needs. And as opposed to thinking that we are as a part of America as anyone and that racism is as part of anything. And so it’s been really interesting on black America because for us, George Floyd a. Aubrey, Brianna Taylor. They are among the list of names that are too long for us to remember. And so the sadness, the hurt for me, the inability to watch. I mean, actor Mom Aubrey, a having grown up in the South. They were hunting. Wardens were hunting. Looks like you are in a truck with your rifle. And what they don’t like to watch. And again, stop. Right. I’m sorry, what did you say? Again, what I that there was not what this great outpouring of watching for a fellow human being being hunted. And it was still well, why was he Baer right and what was he doing and what was all the conversations that you only have when it is someone who is black and even Brianna Tyler that some how? Because she was a black woman and she should have been expecting the police to storm in her house at any given moment until her. Right. It is. So I am hopeful that real sustained change will come. But I am hesitantly hopeful because a lot of it’s you know, you can’t you can become lipservice. And I have corporations have been busy posting on social media. Black Lives Matter. We stand with you. And then their employees are blown up, they say, but my black life has not mattered at work. Right. And what does your leadership team look like and why? It so it is everyone is being so defensive in these moments that I wonder if we’re still having the difficult conversations that will really spur change. Right. And long term change, not just for today, not just for that one donation, but OK, if you’re going to make a donation. Is that commitment over the next 10, 20 years? Right. Not just what your leadership team looks like today or the one person who’s black that you call to hurry up and put on your board. Right. What is the plan going forward so that you look up and there might be two or three, you know, five or six years from now. And that’s your leadership team. Looks like your customer.
[00:43:11] Is that so?
[00:43:13] If I have a hope and people have heard me say this before, but you haven’t Till. You know, covered was a prelude to an opportunity. That’s my hope. OK. And I know I don’t wish ill health on anybody. And there’s so much they come gets in the way of what I’m saying, and I appreciate that. But I can speak personally and say, like, this has been such a profound moment in my life and so on, so many levels, which has put me in a position to feel more useful to others. OK, that’s just how I feel. I’m just speaking as one individual, and I know I’m not alone because I talk to people about this thing. But my fear. Is that I’m gonna end up like most of us. This is cynical, which is too busy.
[00:43:58] And not having taken an opportunity to do something, to not let that, because you’re right, you corrected me in a certain way and you said it’s just like an old folks home, old folks home. It is just like an old folks home. I know you’re right. The challenge I have is like. How can I do something tomorrow, today, to not let that opportunity just go away? And I’ve been thinking a lot about it and having conversations about it, and I know others have as well. And I. You’re not I can’t expect you to give me, like, the Eureka right now. But I am curious how you would react to what I’m saying. And I do think that I don’t I don’t think I’m unique in my hope that. Come on, you know, from the time I was do I watch Roots on TV in 1970, whatever, I don’t I wish I were part of something that was going further than it has.
[00:44:57] Well, there’ve been a couple of suggestions that I have made when people have wanted to have these conversations. So one is what? What is your self reflection shown? Right. And am I willing to hear others viewpoints when it makes me uncomfortable? And so do I want to talk about race. Because I want to say these are my experiences with African-Americans. Am I willing to hear how African-Americans experience me? And that is difficult and that requires sitting and hearing maybe some things that are going to be difficult, right. But if that’s how people have been experiencing you, then it already is. All right. Does it become any worse? Because you now know, it gives you an opportunity to grow and to move forward so that when one is just being very self reflective, I think seeking learning in the same way that we do sports, that we do cozied, that we do anything else. And so in particular, because I know in organizations with men, when you’re in college football and you want to learn about a team, you look at information from different sources. Right. You don’t expect to pick up the phone and call the coach and ask about the difference. Right. You read it from those who are clients. You hear information and seek information from experts or people who aren’t fans who are fans of your particular team. But all you know, you want a 360 view. Right. So I think doing that research and work with the easiest thing is picking something that is easy for you to do. There are lots of things that we all have a lack of dominion over. Right. Decisions that we make every day. So it’s stopping to say, OK, now that I’m thinking about things differently, now that I’m aware of maybe some blind spots. I’ve had. What decisions can I make? Different. Right. And. So people talk about what their companies and I’m like, OK. So if you really believe that your company is as equitable as you say it is, then check. Just check. Right. It is pay equity, right? Have somebody go and look and see if it is great. Then there’s something else you probably need to look at. But let’s just start looking and making sure instead of becoming so like I’ve been doing the right thing. All of us have room to improve. Right. That that’s what business is. That’s the other part. Right. So you’re never satisfied with twenty five percent market share. You want to grow with a third in the, you know, five years, 10 years. So we set long term goals around that. So with the things that I can control, how do I set long term goals in this area as well? And where do I need to keep a record of them so that I’m held to them? Because you do get beat and you are wanting something else. But in this moment, if people are fundamentally dedicated to making a difference on this, then making some long term commitments and decisions now and again business and especially private companies. People put their cousin’s husband on the board, right? All day. Right. You put someone else on the board because they bring a different perspective and have different experiences. Right. And so your cousin’s husband in some ways is on there because of the title. But his title does not equal his qualification. Right. So in this instance, it may not. But just to think about things different and that whole conversation about, you know, what it requires for folks of color to be considered qualified. It’s thing the suppositions in the fact that I even have to have that conversation is offensive. Right. Because no one else questions whether the cousin’s husband is qualified. But I have to be justified in that. If you know someone who very privileged, very fortunate to have a doctorate from Harvard. Right. But that ends up being why people can validate my presence in the room. Yeah, right. Well, Christine here got to be smart. She got a doctorate. If I were a white male, there’d be no need to qualify. It would simply be. This is Christine.
[00:49:44] So there’s there’s awareness. So I tell you that I just a minimum rapture by this, I’m just thinking about Christine. You’re talking about these sort of waves of awareness. Right. So we’ve talked earlier about how Korona made us more aware that our government failed us, that it’s our CDC, that it’s our presidency. We’re seeing, you know, efforts to take over our police departments, change them in a way that I think a lot of us kind of are waking up to realizing they should be changed. So that’s an awareness thing. George Floyd, awareness. And, you know, this is sort of the point I want to get to is I want to be careful how I say this, because it’s so it’s such a difficult uncomfort conversation.
[00:50:26] But would it be fair to say that one of the most powerful things about the slow motion, horrendous murder of George Floyd was it made white people more aware of what African-Americans have been well aware of for a long time? Right. Like we saw that it was in arguably a slow, slow motion murder in a lot of white Americans. Maybe now are more aware of this. And so if you look at the protests there, they’re very much multiracial. They’re very much multi age. And so, again, you have this awareness. And so, you know, some of these concrete changes, we’re talking about police departments taking down statues, more board seats for for broader representation. Those are all positive things. And but I I really like your your comment about how we have to sort of check ourselves and figure out what it is we’re doing. I just wonder. I still feel like it. Does it have to. What. So that those are boards. Those are businesses. Those are. But for the vast majority of Americans who don’t run businesses don’t sit on boards. Is there any you know, this is not put you on the spot. I’m not sure there’s an answer. But how does that part of America become more aware of this reality in which we’ve been this persistent, durable reality this country’s been in for 400 years and begin to make changes at a personal level? And I wonder if one of the answers is hard conversations, uncomfortable conversations.
[00:51:53] I don’t know. But that feels like we have some institutional ideas that matter. We feel like I feel like we are business ideas that matter. I feel like we have government is a matter of labor waking up. We think we have an election coming up or perhaps more people get out and vote and realize they have to have their own president in power. But I don’t. Is there any set of steps that individuals can take to to take the scales, authorize and be more aware of what’s going on in this country?
[00:52:20] So I think it is, again, always stopping and that self reflection. Right. But it is also the things that you have influence over. So we all make decisions every day. And if it is whose house I let my children go play? If it is speaking up when I’m in the restaurant or in a store and I see something happen, that isn’t quite right. We also we all have decisions that we make every day. And so, ladies, how am I going to decide differently based on this new respect? And based on this awareness that I maybe have been just walking off from some things before, when my children say something, when my sibling says something. Right. When I recommend someone. Right. So if I recommend one of my coworkers for promotion. Right. Or I comment on my boss. Am I being equitable in those cockpits? Am I OK? We all make lots of what we think to be small decisions that impact others every day. And so how do we use this knowledge to do that? Do I put on a mask for a Kovik so that I don’t impact the community of color the time I make it? So even if I don’t believe that, I really should have to. And if it when it’s out, it is a hot. It is hard to wear a mask, right? But if I’m willing to demonstrate, if I’m willing to march, can I know that cold it impacts communities of color at a greater rate. Am I willing to put on a mask to protect the. Right. So they did lots of decisions that we can all make. It’s just stopping to think about how we do it being more thoughtful and not running from the uncomfortable conversations.
[00:54:16] You know, I’m going to add one thought to that. And thanks for responding, I mean, it’s not your responsibility.
[00:54:24] Versus Till. Thank you for making that point, Tom, I don’t. It’s not your job nor your son’s body. I’m sorry to put you on the spot, but I, I, I learned a lot. Thank you.
[00:54:35] Martha Glyphosate would disagree with me right now. I am not so great spokesperson.
[00:54:43] I’m just glad that you are letting me share my life. And I’m comfortable about when I don’t feel like talking about stuff. I’m like, look, I’m tired.
[00:54:56] Well, so my my strategy at the moment, this is my personal strategy one. You brought it up, which is, you know, and we interview got it last week named Neil Phillips, who talked about that. Like, you got to get comfortable in the uncomfortable period. And if it’s not uncomfortable, you’re probably wasting your time a little bit. So just go in there and do best. Well, the my takeaway is.
[00:55:17] Priority. That the priority of.
[00:55:23] You know, like many of us, I’ve seen good and bad in my life. I’ve seen tragedy and I’ve seen beauty sometimes very close to each other. I do know you’re not going to take it with you. You’re not. You’re not taken with you, man. You’re going. You’re going out in a box like everybody else. And you’re gonna love the people around you or you’re not. No, I don’t practice that every day. I get greedy. I do. I get impatient. I get selfish. I do lots of things. But I want to live in a culture that achieves something more than. Zeros and ones. And money. Not against it, I’m not against it, but it’s like, let’s win in another way, like let’s have let’s prioritize something. And so does that mean, like, you know, I’m not going to get into the debates over some of the miscellaneous. Yeah, that’s what it means.
[00:56:10] Well, I have to say, though, because it’s kind of like dating. Right. So it’s all good. And butterflies tolerate the fact. Right. But I think the hard part is how do I love when you’re showing back to me the ugly parts of myself?
[00:56:29] Yeah, well, that’s a powerful point.
[00:56:31] You know, I did been wrong. I will continue to be wrong. You know, initially I was like, well, maybe we can get cold under control. Didn’t make that. You know, I was hopeful and optimistic and then. No. So I did wrong. I hope that some beautiful, wonderful things grow out of all of this. I don’t know what our new normal is going to look like in both addressing racism and cohered, but I am hopeful for both. And that goes back to that American optimism, which you talked about, that we will see.
[00:57:11] I don’t know. But if you have, tell me the ending it is would have been the last three months. OK, I’ll go do it right now. So, Christine, thank you for your time and also thank you. Thank you for your generosity on sort of a range of conversation. I love your story.
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