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Friday, February 11, 2011

Let there be peace!

North Korea attacks South Korean island … Tourist attacked in Israel … President accuses Republicans of taking hostages in tax debate … Republicans accuse Democrats of promoting socialist agenda … Mexican drug lords extend violence across US border …
If newspaper headlines, forum comments, and soundbytes espoused by the various TV talking heads were all we had to go by, peace would be the last descriptive we would use to describe the world as we know it. But in the book of Isaiah the word proclaimed centuries ago that “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “
What would the world be like if each of us sought peace? Remember the words of the song Let there be Peace on Earth?
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Just think what our world might be like if the peace that many of us feel and project became contagious. And as the song says, that peace began with each of us?

Consider the recent debate on the Bush tax cuts… could a win-win have been reached instead of a compromise? Could our elected officials have debated and worked through the issue without demonizing each other. Not only do I think so, I feel a win-win was possible and would have led to a better tax package and took at least a baby step toward fiscal responsibility.

I think most felt the tax cuts being kept in place for over 95% of Americans were necessary and responsible as we continue to try to climb out of the current economic abyss. I also think most agree that spending at the federal level is out of control. So a possible win-win could have been a modest increase for the top two percent of wage earners while also reducing spending by at least the same amount.
It is a far stretch to say that any tax increase for the top-earners will put the brakes on growth and investment. But given the fiscal malpractice of our Congress and Presidents (pick any of them over the last 20-30 years), it is good politics to blame the other guy and demonize one another rather than rolling up your sleeves and working it out.

A win-win option is possible if mutual respect and mutual benefit are desired. In Stephen Covey’s landmark work on human effectiveness, seeking a win-win solution produces the highest level of benefit. Why then do we see so much evidence of the opposite – win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, and compromise? In the political world compromise is considered success. If we could somehow get back to some level of civility where mutual respect and mutual benefit could exist, maybe our country would be in better shape.

Internationally we do not seem much better off. After thousands of years of war and fighting, conflict still reigns. North Korea imprisons its people through totalitarian rule yet seeks aid from the rest of the world through intimidation. In the Middle East, peace not only is nonexistent, the mere premise is thought irrational by the radical.

Rarely a day goes by that news reports of abuse, violence, assault, rape, and even murder are reported. Even the simple reading of the forum in our local paper can quickly wipe the smile off of your face. One will rarely be at peace after reading the criticisms and complaints of even a few.

So as I enter this Christmas season wishing for peace I will be mindful of the words in the song – peace was meant to be, it begins with me, and it occurs with God as our Father! Although today we are not at peace, one day the world will be at peace!

Wishing all a blessed and Merry Christmas!

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