In a world of accerlations, the contemporary focus for those pursuing careers in the public service has prioritized short-term processes over durable public policy. The bigger, more complex questions, let alone the solutions, are usually put off to another day. Now in my post work phase of life, this period provides the opportunity, a macro approach, to address these bigger questions. It is a time not dictated by others or filled with economic uncertainty. What an opportunity to move along what M. Scott Peck defined as “The Road Less Traveled.”
“So let us begin anew–remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof-“
“Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”
JFK was speaking to U.S. Soviet relations. I’m taking the liberty of using his words as contemporary domestic metaphors. They are the basis for my personal mandate to find a better way to facilitate these ideals. I can no longer expect others to preserve my democratic freedom for me. I need to engage beyond the organizational confines of titles, compensation, process, applications, measurement and professional conduct. I need to contribute to a dialog that is beyond self and the company interest. This requires a return to a more human narrative. My emerging effort is to contribute to a greater sense of common purpose, trust, and integrity. It has to start with a willingness to communicate, to agree, without anger, on what’s right and not who’s right. “So let us begin anew.” I’m working on just how to do this. It’s my encore, a work in progress.
“For the last 15 years my avocation has been teaching graduate level courses in public policy and administration. I’ve gone out of my way to keep my own political views to myself and out of the classroom. This is now virtually impossible to do. I was lulled into thinking that we were incrementally maturing beyond our racist and tribal tendencies. We were finding better ways to balance individual liberty with a more communitarian approach to society, that more and more of us acknowledge our responsibilities as stewards of our communities and the greater environment, that venomous hatred and self righteous indignation was slowing, becoming more of a thing of the past. Apparently I’ve been naive. But there are enough of us to still stand tall, to believe that economic and social equity is not something just out of a text book or to be used as convenient punch lines for politicians and pundits. In a way, the hatred kindled by those in power and their media friends has a silver lining: it reminds us that we cannot take our civil liberties for granted. This is a wake up call to action for everyone regardless of creed, color, gender or preferences in life long partners. That’s the America that is still out there. It is still the majority that believes that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness applies to all Americans regardless of religious beliefs, ideological preferences, skin color or the origin of his or her roots.”