If you are among the many people outside the United States that I have talked with when I have come to your country to give lectures and workshops, you already know the passion I have always felt about the essential good-heartedness of the American people as a whole.
You’ll recall my saying that Americans, like anyone else, decide what to support and oppose based on the information they are provided. You’ll recall my belief that the picture Americans had been provided by their media and politicians about what was going on in the world was far more American-centric than most Americans realized. You’ll recall my perspective that this problem was causing a majority of Americans to support with good intentions policies that eroded good will toward the United States.
You’ll recall my anguish over Americans not being provided a broad enough picture of the issues, by the media or politicians, to come to well-considered conclusions. You’ll recall my maintaining that once the majority of Americans understood a more complete picture, their well-intentioned decision-making would reflect that awareness.
That day has arrived. Not because Barack Obama was elected President. But because the majority of Americans across political parties now understand the damage that certain key aspects of U.S. foreign policy has caused to its standing in the world. The majority at last appear to understand that the politics of polarization and divisiveness has been destroying the United States from within, in addition to its standing in the world community.
In other words, America’s New Silent Majority has finally begun to stop being silent! The majority of the American people are now showing themselves to be the intelligent, well-intended people that you have always heard me insist that we are… because they now have a more complete picture that enables their desire to do the right thing matches their ability to recognize what the right thing is.
I still recall how profoundly heartbroken I was back in late 2001, when the world’s outpouring of love, compassion, support and solidarity with the United States in response to 9/11 turned to confusion and resentment in response to some of its key foreign policy responses to those events. I felt that the window of opportunity for vast planetary progress toward conciliation and cooperation that had been created through the tragedy of 9/11 had been squandered and sabotaged.
I maintained that the best possible way to defeat fanaticism in the world was through a combination of conciliation and cooperation with those whose hearts went out to us PLUS containing the fanatics who sought to threaten that conciliation and cooperation. What we did instead was to become the ones who damaged the conciliation and cooperation that would have helped to defeat the fanatics.
We created alienation from far too many of those who wanted to bestow their support and solidarity through an ill-conceived response strategy to 9/11 that was tainted by revenge, retribution and opportunism, rather than uncompromising-yet-level-headed containment. I believed that this faulty strategy would strengthen sympathy toward fanatics rather than eroding it. It broke my heart to have been right about that. (For more about how to combine conciliation and containment in sane and prudent ways, read the Declaration of Global Responsibility that I wrote in the aftermath of 2001.)
In watching and reading the majority of the world’s responses to yesterday’s 2008 U.S. presidential election, I believe that the good will toward the U.S. that was sabotaged in the aftermath of 2001 is now being restored. I am deeply relieved to see that this good will didn’t vanish; it only went into hibernation — just like the American people’s ability to channel their devotion to doing the right thing went into hibernation and now appears to be re-awakening. These two things are far more related to each other than I believe most Americans still grasp. I am hopeful that more and more will deepen their appreciation of this during the coming months.
So, I say to my fellow Americans, and to those in the world who are excited about the political climate that is occurring in the United States, let’s not blow it this time. We have been graced with a do-over — a second opportunity to build synergy in the world community that replaces the old outmoded problem-solving styles of coercion and compromise. This is what will transform the tragedy of 9/11 into the profound gift that we owe it to ourselves to allow it to become. Helping this gift to emerge is what will defeat Fanaticism Disorder in the world more effectively than any other strategy (again, along with proper containment).
The "Transpartisan Era" begins today (more about this in my next blog post)!