Incredible Room for Your Idealism


In my 5-1/2 decades on the earth I’ve never seen ideas-ideals sweep so fast across this country. And it forces me to ask: What “reality” am I tolerating that could well change…and quickly?  Have you noticed what’s going on?

1.  We went from the pretty bizarre political compromise of “don’t ask – don’t tell” — and “progressives” like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opposing gay marriage — to a swift and seemingly irrevocable move towards accepting gay marriage and gay rights.

2.  Legalization of pot seems to have begun a similarly sweeping change in the winds, with recent referenda in Colorado and Washington, and in many cities, some quite conservative.

3.  We have an African man’s son as President.  And last week Detroit, which is 82.7% African-American and only 10% white, elected a white man mayor — a prospect that seemed as implausible as a Palestinian getting elected mayor of Jerusalem.

4.  Despite the Tea Party’s resistance, it seems clear we will have “immigration reform” soon.  Look up “shifting opinions” on immigration and you will see a whole host of names you would never have expected to see there five years ago: Christie, Ryan, Rubio, Boehner, etc.

5.  We’ve realized that bullies need to be stopped, even when they are football players “teasing” other football players in a locker-room culture.  And we’ve concluded that smashing craniums -even with helmets on – isn’t a real smart idea.

Although these are largely progressive changes, progressives themselves (ourselves) hid from these issues for many years. And though people can certainly dispute the wisdom of these shifts, what’s fairly indisputable is that there is a sense of common sense or fairness about all of them. Most of us know that gays are like us, race does not control us, pot is in many respects “better” than alcohol, and most Mexican immigrants are — like us — really decent folks, striving to become part of this country -just as many of our parents, grandparents or ancestors did.

So, it strikes me as a time for courage about common sense.

I’m thinking: I need to be rethinking!  Adopt what Zen calls a beginner’s mind.   What have I/we tolerated that really makes no common sense:  People working 90 hours a week?  Buying water in throwaway bottles? Fighting nukes in Iran while we manufacture and buy millions and millions of weapons for our own homes and streets? I’m not asking you to agree with me on any one of these issues, but I am saying that if there are major common sense issues that you have tolerated, because you didn’t think things could change, maybe that idea needs to come to terms with these new realities about change, in order for you, to

Lead with your best self,