Marolt: Abolishing the personal agenda | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Abolishing the personal agenda

Roger Marolt
Roger This

Let’s agree to agree to do away with agendas except for official meetings where all they are is a list of items that need to be discussed that are published ahead of time so everyone is prepared to talk about them. That’s what we invented them for.

I bring this up because it seems like nowadays everybody has at least a tablet full of personal agendas and nobody distributes any of them ahead of time to encourage meaningful discussions. They are well-guarded secrets primed to be launched at opportunistic times to wreak havoc. Many don’t even have a meeting on their to-do lists when they come up with them.

If you believe what you hear, most keep them tight to the vest, never revealing them to anyone, and use them solely for nefarious purpose aimed at personal gain; namely to conquer the world before destroying it. The personal agenda ought to be banned by the NSA on all domestic and international flights, even if packed in checked luggage.

The problem of doing away with personal agendas is that lots of folks aren’t even aware they possess them and are devilishly possessed by them instead. This is possibly because the stealthy doctrines write themselves into the unattended mind when people are half sleep when they should be soundly dreaming instead. It is becoming apparent that we conjure them subconsciously as we toss and turn and in the morning chalk the experience up to a fitful night’s sleep possibly brought on by caffeine being an undisclosed ingredient in the chocolate sauce on the lava cake at the new restaurant in town, never suspecting their evil and uncontrollable implantation in our brains.

It’s not like we can feel hidden, secret, personal agendas in our craniums. This is only revealed when some astutely observant person points it out to the world at large in a national news broadcast or a letter to the editor in the local newspaper. Oftentimes the whistleblowers know we have our hidden agendas, not from what we specifically say, but because we just look like we probably have one. The accusations are hard to argue.

I always wondered if I had any hidden agendas. For years I believed I was in the clear, and very relieved of it since agendas of a personal nature are bad to begin with and, to make matters worse, where there is one, there are likely many more. Evil spreads rapidly.

Recently, to my horror, it was publicly revealed that I have one. It’s worse than I thought. Actually, it’s probably as bad as it can get since it deals with how the church I have worshiped in my entire life should be remodeled. I was probably asked to volunteer for the building committee since 55 years of sitting in its pews, oftentimes distractedly taking stock of the surroundings during homilies that lost me a few minutes in, gave me perspective, valuable or not.

I thought I came in with an open mind, and that might be so, but I’ve learned that an open mind is more fertile for sprouting weed-like personal agendas than it is to cultivating useful ideas for productive change.

By and by, the secret personal agenda sprouted in my gray matter and has invaded the process of the group project of coming up with a good plan to spruce up the church. The crazy thing is that the consensus of the committee jibes with my previously unknown personal agenda, the implication being that this personal agenda, at least, is like a highly contagious virus that infects all in close proximity. It seems to take quite a long time to gestate, but if a group spends hours upon hours together and talks with lots of other people, eventually the personal agenda will conquer all and a committee of infected people will succumb and agree on its dubious merits.

I miss the old days of simple opinions. They were a lot easier to mange. Everyone knew what their own opinions were and keeping your opinions to yourself was actually considered a virtue. For those who didn’t keep their opinions a secret, at least nobody could accuse them of plotting to overthrow the world by some conspiratorial theory. If your opinion rankled others, you were a simple blowhard, a jackass at most. The worst anyone could do was disagree with you and it was hard to get the masses riled up about that.

Roger Marolt’s secret agenda this week was to get this highly influential column out of the way quickly so he could get on with spring break. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.


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