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Grandeur Tarnished; Magnificence Diminished; Instituitions Defaced

By Art van Bodegraven | 11/08/2017 | 8:50 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Washington, DC is overflowing with icons of history and promise.  A magnet for impressionable youth, it is a shrine for (legal) immigrants and new citizens.  We are keenly aware.  Our Colombiana daughter-in-law is a passionate citizen, and she is determined that her boys, born in the USA, appreciate where they are and what she left behind.

Los Colombianos have been suitably impressed with the imposing edifices in our capitol.  But, there is an insect, possibly a fly doing the backstroke, polluting our crown jewels.  It's not so much that buildings overwhelm the visitor, but more a matter of grand concepts and ideas residing there, rooted in the hard work of nation-building in Philadelphia some couple of centuries past.

Institutions engraved in the minds of millions seem to be falling into disrepair, thus the capitol requires periodic and expensive maintenance.  The White House needs restoration and "imorovement" from time to time.  The abundance of monuments and official buildings is apparently insufficient, so new monuments are continually in development, shoulder to shoulder in a crowded space - The Wall for Viet Nam, a comprehensive Holocaust Museum, a history of the US' African-American experience, WWII, Jefferson, Lincoln, the now-closed to the public Washington Monument - all this and official building\s, as well.

A Presidential residence, the White House, home in succession to an easily persuaded warrior, an elitist narcissist who was smarter than all the rest of us put together, and a racist misogynist with delusions of unfettered powers and Czarist wishes morphing into commands.  This, now the wellspring of invoked policy pronouncements, governance by ukase.

The Capitol, the working home to our Congress, where laws, like roaches, check in but don't check out, a perpetual maintenance project in itself.  

Sundry official office buildings to accomodate our glut of lawmakers and staffs.  Most dangerous, a random and motley collection of offices for the agenceis that formulate policies and regulations that have the force of law, no matter how inane or intrusive - or counter-productive.  More acquisition, expension, remodeling, repair, maintenance - rinse and repeat.

Dead generals on horseback, galleries, the infinite scope and range of the Smithsonian, and on and on.

The streets are full of Sammy Glick's, on the make, on the run, lobbyists, single-issue proponents, philosophical poseurs with more full agendas, "git 'er done" aides, hangers-on, posse members, and hopefuls for either high office or a part-time job somewhere in politics.  The more prominent politicians exhibit manifest symptoms of mental imbalance, if not outright illness.  The nearby residents, armed with hobby supplies have tagged sacred monuments and buildings with graffito in permanent black.

That's right, youth in hoodies, pants at half-mast, ignorant of history, deficient in the English language, and with a surplus of disrespect are wreaking their special magic on the symbols of hard-won independence.  This is not fake news . . .

In short, our national treasure and holy symbols have been defaced and defiled in multiple dimensions, a sad state and a wretched point in our national image - nationally and globally.

How might this condition translate into the universe of SCM?  Does your operation look good, but perform in fits, starts, and lurches?  Does it look a bit run down and in need of a technology - or talent - infusion, but somehow get the job done?  Are your facility tours deceptively impressive, but independent of accomplishment?  Do your customers know of, and help out with, your problems?  Or, do you hide behind the curtain, and hope that no little dogs pull it away to reveal your dark secrets?

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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.



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