Sometimes you just can’t make anyone happy. In fact, it might be true that you can never make anyone else happy. After all, the power to become happy is never really in another person’s hands. Each individual has to find her own path to happiness. Even in the face of adversity, confident people will remain secure in the belief in a positive outcome.
President Barack Obama presents an illustration of this point. No matter how his critics attack him, he remains patient and determined in pursuit of his goals. New Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf would be wise to study this model of leadership. Even as he suspends the death penalty and secures the Democratic National Convention for Philadelphia in 2016, Governor Wolf should seek opportunities for bipartisan cooperation, when possible, with the legislature. Yet he must always be ready to take principled action to move the state forward, just as President Obama has done.
This approach avoids the silos that have come to dominate public and private life in the United States. Too many people, especially those in leadership positions, have adopted a perspective that reflects a tiny segment of their communities who hold nearly every opinion in common. At political extremes, in socio-economic status, in educational attainment, the American public has segregated itself thoroughly. No one really talks with anyone who disagrees with him. It is a process called “othering.” It is the antithesis of a strong community that values different perspectives.
The United States, and the nations aligned with it, faces the challenge of creating an inclusive, global civilization for the first time in human history. Since 2012, the Obama administration (in conjunction with central banks worldwide) has expanded the global asset ceiling by more than 160 trillion USD. There is an opportunity for the people most injured by slavery, segregation, patriarchy, sexism, and colonialism to build a just and equal world. Petty, obtuse debates filled with intellectual jargon only serve a selfish conservatism. These silos of insecurity and ignorance must be torn down to make room for an institutional architecture where no human being suffers exclusion.
The first people to understand this moment will be the ones who open the doors for equal justice. It is an uncertain, unpredictable frontier. Labels like American, European, African, Asian, billionaire, immigrant, graduate, and homeless will lose the meanings they have held. Some historians fear these moments as “the end of history.” The rest know it is just a great opportunity to begin writing again.
Dr. Walter Greason founded the International Center for Metropolitan Growth (ICMG_International Center for Metropolitan Growth) and is the author of the award-winning historical monograph, Suburban Erasure. He is also the primary instructor for the “Engines of Wealth” initiative at Monmouth University. His work is available on Twitter (@worldprofessor / @icmgrowth), Facebook, LinkedIn, and by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). For bookings (workshops and speaking engagements), contact NJ History (email@example.com).