WKRP's Thanksgiving classic 'Turkeys Away' episode has subtle leadership messages for Elk Grove elected officials




Perhaps the funniest television sitcom Thanksgiving episode, and one of the funniest stand-alone sitcom episodes ever, was WKRP in Cincinnati's famous Turkey's Away. 

The now-famous episode first aired in 1978 and centered on the radio station's Thanksgiving promotion that went awry. For a thorough summary of that show, this story accurately describes the events, and you can see some of the scenes on YouTube - it is hilarious.

If you never seen the episode, suffice it to say the promotion was a catastrophe, and the people from the humane society were not happy! 

Aside from the hilarity of the events, there are subtle messages embedded between the lines for politicians. 

When the station manager Mr. Arthur Carlson made his plans, he kept them secret, only involving Less Nessman and Herb Tarlek, probably the worst two people at the station to entrust. He didn't do this out of malice or any ill intent.

Even though there was no ill intent, that secrecy kept other people at the radio station from the planning, and it is entirely possible Venus Flytrap, Dr. Johnny Fever, or Jennifer Marlow would have known turkeys don't fly, much less throwing them out of a helicopter wasn't the best of ideas.

How many times have we seen politicians develop plans in secrecy without public input, or when the public does comment, they are ignored? Like Mr. Carlson, if politicians found it in  their psyche to engage the public in the process they could stop their often wasteful use of taxpayers' money, costly litigation and ridicule they often generate for themselves.  

By their nature, most politicians and the highly-paid bureaucrats who report to them have a superiority complex over their constituents, and they loath thinking somebody is more intelligent than them. How many times have we heard our local elected officials, one, in particular, tell us how about their high level of education? 
  
The moral for politicians is don't operate in secrecy - the public is more thoughtful, deliberative, and not self-important like you. And besides, even though it doesn't matter to you, it's illegal.  

Perhaps the most critical lesson from Turkeys Away four our local group is the final line uttered by Mr. Carlson when he realizes his mistake. 

"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly," he said with all sincerity.

Even though his decision made in secret had disastrous results, Mr. Carlson did something unimaginable to most politicians - he admitted he was mistaken. Now that is a lesson every politician needs to learn, especially with our local officials.      



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