Here it is, November 7, 2012. We the people of the United States have elected our President and Congress. Every poll was wrong – it’s a landslide! How did we get here?
After the final Presidential debate a couple of weeks ago, something remarkable began to happen. We realized that our freedom requires awareness because with awareness we have real choice. We realized that once we stopped listening to the noise, we could see that what we were paying attention to really didn’t matter. We started dropping our beliefs and labels of Republican and Democrat and opening our eyes and minds to see ourselves and the candidates as we are as people.
We began questioning the real importance of hard and fast positions on the issues and ideologies. We saw that the ideologies such as capitalism, liberalism, conservatism, and fundamentalism are not what made this country great. These beliefs about how life should be separate rather than unite us and do not provide long-term solutions. We saw that imposing our beliefs and choices on others violates everyone’s freedom, including our own. We recognized that what was most important about this election is leadership and integrity and began looking closely at the candidates themselves and how they lead their lives.
We realized that we have a mixed view of what it means to be a leader. We used the term loosely. We called anyone with a position of authority a leader. We called people leaders when they commit to an ideology, policy or profits. We called people leaders when they appear “in control of” and dominating situations.
We saw that many people who we have called leaders have their own rules: focus on accumulating and maintaining wealth and power; take action based on self-serving self-interest and personal gain; and exploit and manipulate people, resources, systems, and situations.
We decided enough is enough. We decided to stop playing by these rules that don’t serve our individual or collective dignity and well-being as human beings. We realized that if a candidate followed and managed by these rules or ideology, they aren’t leading and they lack integrity. We recognized that we ourselves contributed to everything that we complain about by our complacency and conformity. We recognized that it is our responsibility to create the future we want for ourselves. We decided to stop giving our power away.
We decided that public protests are slow to bring about change so we began looking within ourselves for answers. We stopped paying attention to what the campaigns and polls and media were saying and listened instead to what we know to be true in our hearts as people. We realized that what made this country great is our diversity and standing for the dignity and well-being and freedom of all people, everywhere. We decided that focus on our collective well-being is required for the future rather than “every man for himself.”
We realized that we want true leadership that brings us together and moves us forward. We decided to drop the ideological paths that limit our vision, blind us to possibilities, and force one viewpoint or choice on the rest of us. We realized that leaders create unity in diversity with shared power and where all benefit.
We recognized that above all, leaders are people who demonstrate the best in us as human beings, our virtues. Leaders show us the polarities that divide us and bring us to the higher truth of a situation, one that establishes common ground and serves the greatest good. We chose as leaders those who we trust will come together, collaborate and move forward with the best solutions for all of us and the future well-being of our children and our children’s children.
We decided that true leaders:
- Care about everyone’s dignity and well-being as human beings and bringing forth our best. We sought leaders who appreciate us as people, our hopes and dreams, and who focus on generating shared power and prosperity.
- Understand without judgment, accepting each of us and what we believe. We sought leaders who appreciate what our lives are like and who seek and value all perspectives.
- Respect without control, granting the freedom to choose. We sought leaders who appreciate that we know what is best for us and who take action based on our interdependence to create sustainable advantage for everyone and everything.
- Respond in the present, within our current context. We sought leaders who appreciate what was learned from the past and who move forward with inspiration for our shared future. We sought leaders who act with wisdom.
We recognized that it is care, understanding, respect, and responsiveness that invite us to follow, even if we might not fully agree. We appreciate that leaders have a broader perspective, a bigger picture view with the potential to address all interests.
We sought leaders who blame and criticize no one, hide and avoid nothing, take personal responsibility and accept the consequences of past choices and actions. We sought leaders whose thoughts, feelings, words, actions are consistent across every interaction, both public and private, and reflect the best in us as human beings. This is integrity. This is who we can trust.
We realized that in today’s volatile world we need thoughtful leaders and for the United States to be a world leader we must care about, understand and respect others’ choices as nations even when we might not make the same choices for ourselves. We recognized the United States can lead on the world stage only when we enter into dialogue rather than control by physical force. We voted to set an example and send a message to the rest of the world that what made us great as a nation is our stand for freedom and equality, human rights and shared power, and the opportunity for a better quality of life when we all work together and contribute our best. We decided our vote is an act of creation, of directing our energy to the kind of world we all want to live in.
We saw that business is not government and government is not business. Each has distinct and interdependent roles to play in our collective well-being and provide complementary balance to each other. We decided not to go back to the policies of the past that generated our current situation and to go beyond change to create something new.
We recognized that the President and Congress are stewards: Of the people, by the people, and for the people. We elect them to focus on what’s possible, the big picture, and higher truths: Power to the people as we lead our lives. Common ground. Greater good. Care. Understanding. Respect. Responsiveness.
Our votes reflected what we value. We value human dignity and well-being for all. We value freedom for everyone in all aspects of life. We value wisdom. We value integrity. We value common ground and serving the greater good. Most importantly, we value our own worth and power, that we each make a difference. We voted in record numbers.
Today we are breathing a collective sigh of relief. We made the best choices for ourselves as a nation and for our place in the world. In the end, we voted only for those who showed they can rise above politics and get things done that enhance the quality of life for all. In the end, we decided to trust in truth and we voted for those who clearly value people over things, actions over words, and all of us together rather than just some of us. In the end, WE won.
What will November 7 bring? What story will we be telling? How will we vote? Will we rise to the occasion and choose the best in us as human beings whether we agree with everything or not? This is our defining moment.
NOTE: This was published on October 25, 2012, 12 days before the election.