Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mars and Jesus Agree with Eisenhower

Choosing the Right Thing

This morning, someone whispered in my ear. Not sure who. Here's what I heard:
"Every act, even the smallest, benefits from a thoughtful and soulful choice to 'do the right thing'. Anything else is selfish, deceiving, and creates injustice."
Could this have been Mars? Jesus? Not sure. But, strangely, it reminded me of a slice of a Dwight Eisenhower speech, in which he said,
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
I thought it was Eisenhower's farewell address. It wasn't. It was "The Chance for Peace", given in 1953 after the death of Josef Stalin.

I was unfamiliar with the content. I read it all. I recommend you do, too - for both those on the left and those on the right. In it, Eisenhower is calling out to the world, and the Soviet Union. 

It's steeped in the language of a world in fear. It's message is from a man who desires to lead us forward in hope; one who recognizes that the best mankind could achieve without mutual trust is "humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Eisenhower calls for actions, not words.
"We welcome every honest act of peace. We care nothing for mere rhetoric. We are only for sincerity of peaceful purpose attested by deeds. The opportunities for such deeds are many. The performance of ... them waits upon no complex protocol but upon the simple will to do them."
There is much to be harvested by us, today, from this nearly 60-year-old speech.

For example, do we welcome every honest act of peace? As a country? As a body politic? As a community, neighbor, spouse, or friend?

Perhaps it was Mars who spoke this to me, and tickled me to recall Eisenhower. Perhaps it was Jesus. Because to both of them, the honorable battle is the one waged against the weaknesses within the self, first and always.

Right action is simple once we trust that doing it will make the world a better place. And here, I take one step further from Ike, and one step closer to Jesus, because, sometimes,  we have to stop waiting for "the other guy" to do the right thing first, as we do to prove that we'll be safe if we go along. Trust ultimately carries with it a willingness to be vulnerable. And as I (and Dr. Brene Brown much more eloquently) have pointed out many times, vulnerability is the key to living a fulfilled life.

Eisenhower goes on to simply and clearly define the fundamental mission of his vision:
"We are ready, in short, to dedicate our strength to serving the needs, rather than the fears, of the world."
Wow. How about that. A military general calling us out to serve one another's needs, not our own fears.

In 2012, we could sure use a big dose of THAT.

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