At The Precipice We Evolve: Forward…

14 Nov

By Gayla Schaefer

It has now been a full week since Election 2012. Unlike most everyone I know, it has also been a full week since I wrote or posted a single thing about it.

I have stayed silent for a number of reasons.

First, and most important logistically, I was on vacation aboard the beautiful Holland America Eurodam on a glorious Mother/Daughter cruise.

Second, like I teach my boys, I do not believe in gloating. Gloating is not a good method of winning long-term friends or influencing people.

And third, I have been overwhelmed by my own conflicting feelings about what this horrendously expensive election cycle and its resulting return to the status quo means for where the nation is now headed.

For these three reasons, instead of posting immediate reactions, I chose instead to spend the time in quiet reflection and observance. (Being on a 7 day cruise around the Caribbean certainly helped in that respect.)

However, the time for gracefully accepting success and thoughtful introspection and witness has passed. I have left the fairy tale white sandy beaches of St. Thomas and Grand Turk and returned home to chilly Memphis reality.

Starting today, I am going to start making my voice heard once again.

It would be almost impossible to fit everything I want to say into one post. So, I have decided to make several over the course of the next few days.

Reading the post-election news and the reactions from my family and friends, I have been struck by a few things which I am going to attempt to tackle in the coming days:

1. The lack of holistic leadership thinking on the part of those like Governor Rick Perry who seem almost surprised their followers actually took up his propagandist veiled threat to secede from the union.

2. The continued divisions between those who voted red and those who voted blue (and those who don’t fit neatly into either category) and a lack of organizational change leadership to accommodate the diversity of American experiences and visions between them.

3. The devolution of reason in decision-making, the continued decline in public service motivation, and the ongoing factual information void caused by the transformation of public sector communications and corporate and internet journalism.

A believer in the side of the adage that goes “life imitates art,” I see promising indicators that our collective national consciousness has indeed reached the precipice where the hard choices are going to force leaders who prefer to balance on fences to fall back in one direction or other – or grow wings to fly to the next challenge. In my opinion, we have reached that tipping point where we must evolve to survive.

As the last president who faced such a cultural division in America so famously said, “A house divided cannot stand.” Truly patriotic leaders – in the elected, professional, community, family, and fourth estate realms – must bravely embrace new ideas and one another to hold it all together.

We have done it before and I am confident we can do it again. Our nation has some of the best leadership thinkers in the world, and we live in a period of lightning fast technology change which has forced us all to learn to adapt to new ways of thinking each time Apple announces its next new product. We can do this.

I accept Obama’s challenge. Forward!


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