See Part I in this ongoing series about applying leadership principles to the big problems our nation faces and to our every day lives: “Leaders See Opportunities, not Obstacles.” Also pick up the book Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles from an American General.
I continue to find myself worried about the future of our Nation. The current situation in Ferguson, Missouri and other parts of our country is of great concern. Unfortunately, there are elements in our society who want to emphasize divisiveness over diversity. They want to drive a wedge between us. I saw this in Iraq during my service there. Folks there committed specific acts of terror to inflame tension between the Iraqi Shias and Sunnis. We can’t allow that to happen here in the United States of America.
I argue continuously that families, communities and organizations should celebrate diversity. They must move beyond simple tolerance and truly embrace and celebrate diversity. If they do that, everyone will flourish. All indicators of success will dramatically improve. We will be exponentially more effective. The US Military is a case in point.
In 1948 President Truman issued an executive order that it was his policy that all members of the armed services of the United States be given equal opportunities regardless of race, religion, color, or source of national origin. Today the US Armed Forces celebrate diversity. We embrace the concept that different folks bring different strengths to the table. We judge a person not based on their color, but on their character, competence, and contributions. We are far from perfect, but we in the military are quantum leaps above the rest of society when it comes to celebrating diversity.
Why can’t we as a Nation do that? Why is it necessary to stereotype someone based on his or her color or religion? Why can’t we celebrate the differences, and use everyone’s contribution to improve our society and make America better place for all to live and flourish? It can be done.
I am convinced that our Nation is in imminent danger from terrorists of all types, including domestic terrorists. There are folks among us who want to incite fear and inflame riots and demonstrations for the sole purpose of establishing divisions between us. They want our Nation to be broken into subgroups as opposed to emphasizing our diversity. We must put an end to this.
The solution to this problem will not be found in Washington DC, but rather in our own homes and communities. Let’s look closely at how we are living our lives, make appropriate changes, and truly embrace and celebrate diversity. Our children and their children will thank us for that.