Imagine India in the time of Gandhi, but without him. Without nonviolent civil disobedience and all he led the nation with, could the nation have gained independence? Most people at the time questioned or criticized what they saw as not fighting back. But England was stronger, so fighting back was a losing proposition.
I think most people scoffed at their prospects. Yet he created a strategy that worked. I don’t mean to oversimplify. Maybe I should say beyond him to include many others.
Notice he didn’t start within government nor a corporation, but he led one of history’s greatest changes in leadership. Without him, might India remain an English colony? What if Indians had waited for governments and corporations to change? I’m inclined to believe if someone outside government and corporations hadn’t led them, they wouldn’t have gained independence.
South Africa without Mandela
Now imagine South Africa in Mandela’s time without him. Would they have overcome Apartheid? How many people can, from prison, help overturn a government?
What if non-white South Africans had waited for governments and corporations to change? I’m inclined to believe if someone outside government and corporations hadn’t led them, they wouldn’t have overcome Apartheid and seen a black man elected President.
The United States Without Martin Luther King
Now imagine America in Dr. King’s time without him. Would they have overcome Jim Crow? How many people can, from prison, help pass landmark civil rights legislation?
What if non-white Americans had waited for governments and corporations to change? I’m inclined to believe if someone outside government and corporations hadn’t led them, they wouldn’t have overcome Jim Crow and seen a black man elected President.
I don’t want to overstate their success. India, South Africa, and the U.S. remain riddled with problems, nor to over-attribute the results to individuals, but I don’t want to understate their results. If teams deserve credit, then I hope you’ll understand what I mean to indicate them.
Nearly everyone doubted all of them, but history proved their doubters short-sighted
Nearly everyone doubted all of them, but history proved their doubters short-sighted. Most of their contemporaries doubted them, laughed at them, and had no faith in them. Yet they succeeded. They didn’t solve all the world’s problems, but they changed a lot.
Should we think only they could succeed at that level? That only those times could afford such change? That we can’t change as much today, even if in different ways?
I suspect most readers want to say, “But it’s different today,” and list why their successes couldn’t happen today. Maybe not. But maybe. Why not try? I suspect their reasons they couldn’t have succeeded seemed as daunting to them. I’m glad they didn’t listen to their doubters.
Now imagine us today with someone like them
Nearly everyone I talk to today looks only at governments and corporations for what they call leadership. They are the institutions to change if we want to stop polluting and lowering Earth’s ability to sustain life. People in them have vested interests in maintaining them.
Imagine a world today with leaders like Gandhi, Mandela, and King, not using their strategies or words. They did what worked for their communities in their times. Their equivalent today would create what works for us in our times.
Is it crazy to think such a leader could emerge? I envision a clean future and can think of ways to create it, though tempered with a message like Churchill’s, so until someone does better, I’ll keep doing my best to do today’s version of what they did. I’ll become today’s Gandhi, Mandela, and King.
Why not? Can you think of something better to do with your life? Why not give it a shot? I can’t do it myself. I’d love your help. Let’s transform American and global culture to expect sustainability and stewardship will bring rewarding emotions, not deprivation, sacrifice, burden, or chore.
I know from experience they bring reward. Let’s restore Earth’s ability to sustain life.
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