The Right Thing

“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? Conscience asks the question – is it right?” Mazin Qumsiyeh, my human rights mentor said this in 2008. I have never forgotten it.
Hello? Are you there?
Good. Because you and I have some very important work to do.
As you read this you’ll probably want to dismiss it as just the rant of an old fool. Granted, I am old. But my mind is, happily for me, untrammeled. I’m writing this because I care deeply and I hurt deeply for this world and the people in it. And, I do have tremendous hope for what and who we can become. I manage to be optimistic and bordering on despair at the same time. I want us to overcome the parts of being human that get in the way of being humane. If we don’t, I’m convinced the lives of my grandchildren, by the time they are as old as I am, will be more difficult than we care to imagine. How about making life not hellish for my and your children and grandchildren?
I think I know how we’re going to get through this transition from, I don’t even know what to call this present moment, to a world where we all care about each other. I think I know what will work, where it starts. Want to hear it? Here goes.
I’m convinced our only hope is for the right leader to rise up, unite us, inspire us, and stand up to the powers that currently divide and un-inspire us. This leader will not be a politician. Politicians are too risk-averse. And because the most important thing in their lives is to be re-elected they take no chances. The odds are good this leader will be a woman, simply because many women can endure agonizing and grinding pain, in this case the pain of rejection. Very few men can. This leader will be willing to say no to the the Corporate State, the War Industry, Wall Street investment bankers, the Fossil Fuel Industry (read that Koch brothers), Big Pharma. Feel free to add your favorite issue.
Are you feeling a little hope yet? Good, because you have an important part to play. Keep a sharp eye out for the one who can and will do what’s necessary. I’m counting on someone who knows someone to tell someone and the special one will appear! When you find the person who can be the inspirational, charismatic, transformational leader we need, support her. Tell people about her. Join her team.
Oh, by the way, if that person is you, step out boldly and embrace your calling.
How will you recognize her? For one thing, she’ll be loyal. She won’t do what Obama did when the political machine attacked his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama threw him under the bus.
The ease with which Barak Obama decided not to use his considerable political capital and charisma to defend his spiritual mentor is a glaring example of just how far we’ve fallen in this world. Turning away from people who are no longer helpful in our lives has become a cancer on our society. In 2008, Obama thought being elected President was more important than doing the right thing. He was wrong.
But let’s face it. Most Americans think our highest purpose is financial gain, increasing influence, and accumulating power. They think it’s okay to do the wrong thing, the politically expedient thing to get there. It is not okay. Not even when being elected President requires it? No. Not then, not ever! It has always been wrong. It will always be wrong.
The leader we need will be someone who will do the right thing, especially when it is not the expedient thing. I become more convinced with every passing year, that there is never an exception to doing the right thing. You ask, isn’t that hard to do? Of course it’s hard! Whenever people care more about others than themselves, careers are ended, money is lost, and perhaps most painful, friendships fail.
I know. I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. Are you willing to admit we need major change to overcome our national political trauma? Mother Nature’s brave and bold experiment called humanity is in grave danger of failing. Face it folks. We are in trouble here and something big needs to happen to save us. We need a new kind of leader.
Here’s what’s fueling my hope. Today there are more progressive and independent thinkers running for office than ever before. Most of them are women. They are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and others. Maybe one of them is strong enough to be a leader instead of a politician. You know the difference between a leader and a politician? A leader goes where s/he must go. Doesn’t look around to see if anyone is following. A politician looks to see which direction the crowd is headed and runs around to get in front of them. I yearn for a leader. We must find the one most likely to unite and inspire us. Support that person in every way you can. Give them your time, donate to their campaign, support them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
And maybe, just maybe, the right person will rise up and lead us to the kind of change we need. For the sake of the future, for the sake of our children, I hope so. We need a very strong and passionate person, probably a woman, to step up and just do the right thing.


  1. re: “Most Americans think our highest purpose is financial gain, increasing influence, and accumulating power.” I’m not sure I agree with you there. That sounds like it strays from the skeptical to the cynical. Sadly, I would agree if you narrow the scope to those who are already in the 1%, hence the increasing wage disparity. Whenever I call support, I’m usually asked at the end of the call if there’s anything else they can help me with. I never miss the opportunity to tell them I’m trying to figure out the meaning of life and I’d appreciate their thoughts. Through the years I think this has given me a fair insight into what some of the 99% think. The most frequent answers (not in any particular order) are: 42, to be happy, to live life to the fullest, children, grandchildren, to do good, to do our best, and of course, no clue. Happily, I don’t remember any references to money, and I’m sure there were no references to influence or power. But then, these are folks not in the 1%. Again, hence the increasing wage disparity. : (

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