Recently a good friend who is a successful business leader had an uncharacteristic tweet, denouncing the treatment of fired FBI deputy director Andre McCabe. It was uncharacteristic because his tweets are more typically about his philosophy of business or life. I sent him a text saying I was grateful he’d spoken out and he texted back “As you know I’ve customarily held back … but I am so upset and that one really provoked me.”
My friend has a vision and a courage that has proven to be often ahead of, and shaping, public opinion. This is what leaders do. His text back to me perfectly captured the dilemma that so many of us face today in not wanting to blend our personal political views with our more ecumenical business dealings, but also believing these are not normal times and we might someday deeply regret not speaking out.
In this time when too many decent men and women are being defamed, too many lines of civil behavior are being crossed, my formula, inspired by my friend, is as follows:
– Trust your conscience and don’t ever hesitate to speak to affirm one’s values
– Political speech need not be partisan speech
– There is no reason not to be civil even in the strongest of disagreements.
– If your words reach even one heart or one mind, they are worth it
In times of crisis, citizens of a democracy have a responsibility to do more than just vote. We have a responsibility to engage, persuade, protect and defend on behalf of the values we hold dear.