For years, I have been intrigued by the seemingly endless pursuit of “a true conservative” in the Republican Party during every election season. I understand that there is a value polarity between “conservative” and “liberal”. However, I have never seen the almost frantic search of “a true liberal” in the Democrat Party.
If you ask most of the Americans and if they are willing to be honest, they will tell you that they hold a middle of the road value and point of view. So, why spend so much energy and money debating on who the true conservative is?
There is a down side of every extreme view when practiced. These extreme views usually are very narrow views. Most of the time, they don’t represent the real world out here. It is like the frog that sits at the bottom of the well, fervently arguing the definition of the sky. Not only does he believe his definition of the sky is true but also will silence anyone who think there is much more to the sky than what he sees. When we insist on holding that narrow view, we get bogged down in our own ideology. Then the world is seen as only “black” and “white” and “right” and “wrong”.
If we truly believe in “thou shall not kill”, then why do we have endless wars in the world? How do we find it justifiable to kill someone just to be true to our ideology?
For thousands of years, many old cultures on this planet based their lives on the notion that energy moves naturally along the path of “Infinity”. This energy includes a force and counterforce. When the force pushes hard in one direction, the counterforce will naturally push equally hard in the opposite direction. This is the self-correcting principle of the universe. It is like “exhale” and “inhale”. We cannot survive very long at the one end, without the other end.
To me, the struggle between “conservative” and “liberal” has very little meaning. This is not an either/or game. The moment we buy into the labeling, we restrict and force ourselves to think there is one “right” way. And we believe we must choose one vs. the other. It is like to win; we must make our opponents look like a monster so that we can beat them into submission or kill them. Getting swept up in this game of duality can do more damage than good to us all.
If we win by beating down our opponents, would this “win” sustain itself? Would those who get defeated be willing to stay down forever? Does winning a war equate “peace”?
So, the “conservative” wants to take over the country because they believe the country has become too liberal. However, if the conservative beat out the liberal and gain the upper hand, wouldn’t the liberal become the counterforce just to wait for a chance to revenge itself? Is this really healthy for the country? Just ask those companies that vacillated between centralization and decentralization for decades to assess if they have reaped any net gain.
I feel sorry for any candidates who are labeled “moderate” because their voices are not heard very much. They actually represent a whole lot of us. This means many of our voices are not heard either. Or at least, our voices are not sexy or provocative enough to get any press coverage.
In the real world, business leaders face the task of choosing the most advantageous strategy for business every single day. Often, there is no clear choice but mounting dilemma between options. Every path has its upside and its down side. The most effective leaders are the ones who can skillfully manage these dilemmas by incorporating the “both/and” values contributed by competing options, in order to create business success.
I certainly hope the leaders of this country can demonstrate their skills to lead from “both/and”, not “either/or.”
Celia Young, a global organization development consultant, has been using the “infinity” principle to advise and assist business leaders to formulate and implement winning strategies for the last 25 years.
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-28692968-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);