Issue 9 and Volume 144.

THE VISION THING CAPITOL CONNECTION FDR’s “New Deal.” JFK’s “New Frontier.” George Bush’s “New World Order.” In Washington these days, it’s called “the vision thing”—the ability of leaders to see, clearly describe, and move toward a better world. A great vision is an idea that brings people together, excites them, mobilizes them, and stands the test of time. America’s fire service periodically tries the “vision thing.” Fire service leaders have little trouble agreeing in general terms when they are herded into conference rooms to “brainstorm” and record their ideas on large sheets of paper taped to walls. Again and again, these sessions produce inch-thick volumes that set forth a vision—a big picture for the tire service. To the extent that they are conclusive, they say: “fewer deaths and tires, safer jobs, less bureaucracy, more resources.” It all reminds me of a story Two men in a hot-air balloon suddenly were…

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