Really mad. Madder than I thought I’d be.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed with our government, nor will it be the last. I’m not sure what will happen in the next days and weeks, but I am sure that we desperately need new leadership.
The lives of everyday workers – those who keep our parks open, who staff the Veterans Administration, who process our passport applications – have been left without paychecks or any sense of when they might reasonably expect one. Our elders, our poor and our working-class families aren’t getting the support they need and deserve.
We need leadership that puts vision over ego, that is clear of purpose, and that asks, “What is best for all concerned?” rather than, “What is best for me?”
We need leadership in school boards, city boards and commissions, halls of faith, and in the corridors of Congress that is based in human rights, has a lens that includes the least powerful among us, and that has the moral courage to set and hold clear ethical boundaries.
This means you.
You’ll notice that I didn’t say, “this means us.” “Us” presumes an “other” which is precisely why we are in our current national predicament. A politics of division and “othering” is not sustainable. It may produce some short-term results, but will not bring about the kind of transformation we are working toward in the long run.
More than ever, we need systems, politics, strategies and leadership that refuse to be grounded in simplistic, us-them, right-wrong duality. We need to insist on wholeness and inclusion, so that no one is left out of the circle.
Pretty words, but not an easy task. However, if we’re going to be the change we want to lead, then we need to end divisiveness and develop inclusiveness in each of us.
Here’s my invitation: Through the end of 2014, let’s pay attention to how often our words and behaviors increase division, and how often our words and behaviors support inclusion.
Leadership is the ability to align and inspire others toward common goals (and toward the common good). Leadership is fundamentally relational, and cannot be done in isolation. That’s our collective responsibility, so let’s pay attention and see how we’re doing.
If you’re willing to accept my invitation, I’d be delighted if you dropped me a line about your progress. You can do that here our blog, or reply to me at akaya AT rockwoodleadership DOT org.
Hopefully we will end our national impasse soon. Perhaps by the time this arrives in your inbox. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that we lead together, that we include everyone, and that we’re in it for our lifetimes.
Thanks for being in it with me.
From my heart to yours,