Our country and our world is in bad need of a revival of creative thinking and bold, innovative leadership in many directions. I don't know about you, but at least the polls, for what good they do, demonstrate a majority of us are tired of the senselessness, greed and tragedy of war. Currently, it seems we are in a fierce battle of egos, ideology and power ---- little of it having to do with what is in the best interest of the people throughout the world.
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.
--- Thomas Paine
I know. I know. I am an idealist. Perhaps! When I wrote previously my heart was filled with HOPE, seeing a few leaders across the world giving us the impression they were sincerely reaching out beyond the wrongs, faulty methods and failed strategies that have not worked, to find a common ground upon which to build diplomacy and perhaps a genuine bridge to new HOPE for PEACE.
Unfortunately, no sooner had new possibilities begun to sprout through Tony Blair, Ahmadinejad, Nancy Pelosi and the released British soldiers, than the war of "killing the messengers and the victims" began with enraged criticism and hate talk for everyone who did anything --- from those who stood by and did nothing. The pundits, government officials in countries unwilling to give-an-inch and the media tore anything good all down with harsh words for everyone's motives and actions. Even the brave leaders who dared, seemed to back track, shrinking behind their words and actions --- degrading their own leadership --- to show what we witnessed was no more than business as usual. Politics, ego and a need to be RIGHT continuing its fierce grasp, holding the world's peoples and their resources captive.
How can we change the world, when we are so very closed to new ideas?
How can we stop the warring, killing and maiming, hunger, injustice, greed, threatening issues like global warming, if we are so set on having to be RIGHT?
It is difficult to innovative if all new ideas are squelched, squashed and the messengers discredited. It is hard to find creative solutions to the problems we face when we are unwilling to change course or recognize the failures and risks of continuing down the same path. More of the same with greater risks makes no logical sense. Six years of failed policy seems ripe for new thinking, new approaches and leadership from anyone willing and able to step forward and lead in their own right to build bridges, making resolution an open, earnest and mutually respectful solution. I come to this conclusion not from a political point of view, but from a pragmatic leadership perspective and as a humanitarian.
General Omar N. Bradley's earned wisdom speaks to our closed minds:
"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount."
How do we ask others to disarm, when we belittle them with our words, threaten them with our might and refuse to talk with them? When has this approach worked effectively for enduring peace? How do we ask people to do what we are are unwilling to do? How do we lead without setting an example ourselves? Have you checked out how the cards are stacked country to country recently?
Wisdom long before General Bradley, credited to Hierocles, spoke of how eye-for-an-eye works: "We ought always to deal justly, not only with those who are just to us, but likewise to those who endeavor to injure us; and this, for fear lest by rendering them evil for evil, we should fall into the same vice."
As our leaders, and perhaps many of us, stubbornly keep our heels dug into the ground so sure about the importance of being RIGHT at all costs, the headlines read, 10 US troops die in Iraq; 6 on Sunday. The account of the violence, executions and demand for us to leave as "occupiers" takes one's breath away.
There must be a better way.
As I write, I hear Maya Angelou whispering in my ear with a recipe for us to consider, "We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate --- thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising."
author and founder
Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies