Happy Independence Day!
To my readers, friends and associates; and on behalf of myself, my wife and my daughter Aden Kirschner (who I’m hoping to persuade this year to join The Art of Change LLC as a speaker and trainer) we wish you and yours a most satisfying and fulfilling holiday weekend. To my fellow countrymen, and to people around the world who cherish the beacon of hope and freedom that America somehow continues to represent in a world of oppression, arrogance and, yes, idiocy, we wish you a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
I know that the human condition can appear increasingly bleak – The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that threatens to kill the area and poison the world for years to come; the rise of religious fundamentalism, superstition and tribalism that threatens to tear the human race apart in the name of self-righteousness and superiority; the increasingly bleak economic conditions driven by bad behavior, low ethical sensibility and criminality in high places, both foreign and domestic; the polarization of the American national fabric, thanks to the failure of both parties in our two party system to ever even consider doing the right thing, instead choosing the expedient thing, the short term solution and the inside-the-box tried and failed policies of the past; the pandering to the extremists and down-right insanity on both ends of the political spectrum, which has empowered the whiners and blamers to dominate our national psyche and conversation – yet in spite of this, I remain true to our national character: Optimistic, determined, and focused on doing what I can with what I have to build a better life, better community and better world.
Why optimistic? First, most of what’s good about America (and the world) takes place outside the view of the media and politicians. Second, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Third, so many people of good will are out in force celebrating what’s right about US today. Fourth, we are a nation of innovators, thinkers, creators. There are people right now who have solutions to our most vexing problems, or are hard at work solving them. And if you want to see what’s right about our business community, just watch Apple Inc. as it changes the paradigm and empowers more and more people to fulfill their creative ambitions. I don’t know how the Gulf of Mexico and the oceans and streams will be healed, but they will be. Dunno how the crazies will get their comeuppance, be revealed for what they are and ultimately lose their support, but they will. Dunno how the economy will be turned all the way around, but it will. There are so many wonderful young people who have their heads on straight, and they are stepping up to the plate. As my mother used to say, MARK MY WORDS! There is much good left to come from US in service to the future, and it will come. Maybe not as quickly as we hope, but faster than we expect. I’m betting on the future. I’m investing in it too. 234 years of history will not be tossed aside.
“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” – Thomas Jefferson
So, in honor of the day, I’d like to share with you my all-time favorite speech from a fictional American President appearing in a movie.
The speech is from the movie Independence Day. With humanity on the brink of extinction, President Thomas J. Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman, gives the following incredibly inspirational speech. Somehow this seems apropos. Here is a transcript of that speech:
“Good morning. Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.
Mankind – That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist.
And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, ‘We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive.’ Today we celebrate our independence day!”
President Thomas Whitmore
July 4th, 1996
I’ll be back in about a week with another post.