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Friday, February 10, 2017

What Side of History Will You Choose?

Today's politics, in part, is like looking into a funhouse mirror.
It's difficult to decipher political events these day. It's as if people are yelling on all sides and you're trying to figure out who to listen to.

Twitter Outburts
It doesn't help that our President appears to be yelling from Twitter and the Oval Office continuously. What will he tweet/say next? is a common thought/expression today. His words have me looking up all kinds of laws, facts, statistics, and more. He's becoming more and more untrustworthy to me and perhaps others as he states mistruths and then has his spokespeople say that he said something different. It's like looking into a funhouse mirror--what's true and what's not?

Good Media
There are news sources that are easier to understand. For example, I heard a great discussion about Russian policy on NPR yesterday. It was a very thought provoking piece that left me with some new understanding and think about our ties with Russia. I agreed with the Russian expert who said that we shouldn't be over focused on morality, but instead on good process and outcome with deep knowledge of Russian policy and action as a foundation of that process. I also agreed with the other speaker who noted that we can't forget Russia's foreign policy history and the leaders' beliefs and actions since what we know is mostly in direct opposition to what we value as a country. Loyal United States citizens who are Russian experts are more vital to us now than ever--What do they think? What do they know? What do they think we should do?

Those in the Know Must Speak Up
With regard to all of these confusing and troubling issues, such as our relationship with Russia, it's imperative that those in the know speak up and tell the truth of what they know and what they believe to be right action. Our freedom and livelihoods depend on this.

Sensitive Choice and Human Dignity
Also as I heard about the Mexican mom who came to the United States as a teenager and sent now at 35 back to Mexico. I wondered about the fairness of that--why is that woman the poster child for Trump's new policies? How will her children fare without her? How will she fare in her own country? Is it fair, after she's lived her all these years, to send her back now? Is there a better way? I couldn't find evidence that this woman was a criminal, and I wondered why they chose her? As we consider new policy and decisions, it's essential that we choose dignity and sensitivity to people. What we do as a people matters, and if we treat people with respect and care as a country, respect and care for our country will grow.

Speak Truth
Skewing and exaggerating facts seems to be a favorite pastime of our new President. He's an alarmist that appears to get power by demeaning others with untrue facts and prejudicial put-downs and comments. He's demeaned women, people of particular religions/cultures, those that don't agree with him, and people with body types he doesn't value. He uses similar words such as "bad," again and again making complex problems and issues simple in the minds of those that listen to him. Yes, many of the issues he's discussing are issues of concern, but not simple issues. Instead they are issues that demand the "best and brightest" citizens as well as inclusion of all citizens' thoughts/views to solve. We have to look far into the future as we make decisions that will serve many generations forward well.

Lead/Speak Well
As each of us moves forward in these complex times, it's essential that we lead and speak well. We all have to consider the question, What side of history do you want to be on? We have to consider this question with regard to our families, work places, organizations we belong to, and our communities. To be on the side of human dignity and decisions that are right and good is the call I desire to heed. What's right and good is sometimes a simple decision and other times a more complex decision, nevertheless, we all need to give those decisions deep thought and consideration.

Guiding Principles

As I think about this, some guiding principles I'll try to follow include the following:
  • Be mindful of the words I use. Don't demean, exaggerate, or skew facts and information.
  • Be mindful of the value of respect and dignity and choose respectful, dignified actions.
  • Speak up when necessary. If I know valuable information related to important issues, it's essential to speak up.
  • Listen to the experts. There are clearly experts in many fields, and as much as possible, it's important that we listen to the experts.
  • Consult the data with a broad, objective lens and ask, What is the data telling us? What truth lies in that data? Is the data set complete and trustworthy?
  • Give the work and people in your lives dedication, positive energy, and adequate time. 
  • Respect the individuality and choices of those that surround you -- everyone has a right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and we all have a responsibility to create communities of care and  respect for one another--a place where everyone belongs. 
It's a complex world, one that we begin to navigate well by caring for those closest to us with as much love and care as we can muster. Then we need to move that care and love out to others in our midst as we work to live and learn well.

There will always be complexity and challenges in life, and how we meet those challenges and complexity is integral to successful, loving work and living. Onward.