US Air flight 1549 bound from La Guardia to Charlotte went down in the ice cold Hudson River, west of Manhattan. There were no major injuries or deaths, a true miracle. So many things could have gone wrong—a slight tilt of the aircraft could have flipped it over, breaking a wing or causing hull damage, resulting in water rushing into the aircraft. If it had landed anywhere but where it did, the ferry boats that picked up so many passengers would not have been so close. If the pilot did not glide it in gently, the plane could have disintegrated on impact. If the fuselage did not stay afloat for so long, passengers may have panicked. All in all, it was a happy miracle.
Another miracle also happened today. George Bush is finally going to leave office, and we all survived it. In addressing the nation, he touted his own record, and claimed that he had a clean conscience. There’s probably no need to say anything more to a Presidency that could only muster an approval rating of 25% in his last week in office (in all fairness, he got a sympathetic bounce of 10% this week from the pollsters). Perhaps symbolic of his Presidency, however, was that the US Air accident happened on the same day of his address, and no one in the nation seemed to care particularly about his speech. And even more representative of his Presidency, he failed to mention a single word about the Miracle on the Hudson, a reflection of a man who worried more about his own legacy than anything else, and a man so totally disconnected from the realities of the world.
Of course, many Americans (and even World Citizens) view the upcoming Inauguration of President Obama to be nothing short of a Miracle. The idea that an African American could become a Leader of this nation—that is amazing. I’ll believe in miracles when an Asian American woman becomes a President. I’ll need to tell my daughter to go into politics.
And finally, perhaps the possibility of a miracle—NASA announced today that they found methane on Mars. There are only two ways methane can come about. The planet farts, or an organism farts (ok, it’s not that easy, but that sounds better than decay). Scientists are trying not to sound too excited, but we could soon have the miracle finding—that there is life on Mars.
So you pick the miracle of this day that pleases you most—the Miracle in the Hudson; the Miracle of the Bush Departure; the Miracle of the Obama Presidency; or the (potential) Miracle of the farting organism on Mars.
Ahhhh... the Audacity of Hope.
Joseph Lee is an independent consultant and executive coach. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management where he teaches a second-year MBA course in Management Consulting. In addition, Mr. Lee is also an author, writing International Business Thrillers, including his debut novel The Sky Burns Red (赤く燃える空) which was published in Japan. A sequel is scheduled to be released Spring, 2009.