This I Believe

Norm - lake hill, New York
Entered on October 24, 2006

“Lead by example”

I believe America could be the envy of the world if we can just get back to our core values: “lead by example.”

Here’s how:

Lead by example. Create a government of transparency and honesty. There is no other way to have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Accountability should be the first task of every government official.

Lead by example. Our officials are not elected to advance their own individual party’s agenda, they’re elected to advance the American people’s agenda. Act like it.

Lead by example. Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of this great nation. It is the thoughts therein that continue to make America a concept and a reality that is the envy of the world.

Lead by example. Government benefits must be given to deserving citizens regardless of race, creed, age, economic status, gender or sexual orientation. There must never be a second class of citizens in this country.

Lead by example. Return this great country to the great ideal of separation of church and state. As John F. Kennedy said: “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source — where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials — and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

Lead by example. If we are going to be the most powerful country on earth, we must always use that power for good, not evil. We must ensure that our motives are beyond reproach and if we use it at all, we must use our military might righteously and without prejudice. We must stop the dealings of murderous dictators whether they have oil under their soil or not. We must step in to prevent genocide whether it takes place in countries of strategic importance or not. We must promote nuclear nonproliferation abroad and at home. We must not turn a blind eye to atrocities no matter where they occur.

Lead by example. Let’s be a country with no imperial aspirations, Let’s remember that if it’s spread at the point of a gun, it’s not Democracy, it’s tyranny and that stopping unjustice is not the same thing as spreading Democracy.

Lead by example. Give our military and paramilitary forces the tools they need to do their jobs. And when they’ve finished serving their country, we must make certain that we honor their service with a secure retirement and benefits.

Lead by example. Make America the most secure country in the world and maintain that security without compromising our principles or the rights of any human. Shut down the Guantanamo detention center and all secret prisons.

Lead by example. Our balloting systems must be open, accountable, accessible and impartial. We must get more Americans to vote.

Let’s make every environmental decision based upon the notion that we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Why was the biggest global environmental agreement ever called the Kyoto Protocol and not the Washington Protocol? Let’s sign it. Let’s reduce CO2 and SO4 emissions and get mercury out of the environment all together. Let’s take the lead.

We must lead the way in the invention and perfection of safe, renewable energy forms. American business will profit in this quest, as will the global environment and all mankind. Let’s have a 100 mile per gallon car by 2010. Let’s make all our energy consumption more efficient. Let’s work towards energy independence.

Medical, environmental, and energy innovation are the growth areas of the 21st and 22nd centuries, let’s lead that growth.

Let’s lead by example by forging the path toward responsible globalization. The global market is an inevitability, putting profits before principles is not.

Lead by example. Our children are the leaders of tomorrow. Our educational system should be the envy of the world. Higher teacher salaries, better training, and more technology will help.

Lead by example. Let’s spend only the money we have and borrow only the money we know we’ll be able to pay back in a timely fashion. Our current culture of credit is fiscally and psychologically dangerous and makes America vulnerable.

Lead by example. Make decisions based upon the ethic of reciprocity that is found in every major religious text: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Let’s end poverty and ensure health care for all. Let’s treat our elderly as we will demand to be treated when we are older.

Lead by example. Incorporate the lessons of history into the leadership of today. If America is to stay great, we must be a country of great insight and justice.

Lead by example.