From where we are now to where we have never been

Morning Tash Appreciators,

In November last year, I spent some time working on a TF about the American election. It was about how the hostility between the campaigns was detrimental to democracy. I binned it because (a) it wasn’t positive; and (b) I saw James Bond and I did the TF on him instead. 

It came to mind again on Monday when I watched President Obama’s inauguration:


After all the name calling that seemed to be filling the pre-election airwaves, America seems quite content with its decision. Democrats and Republicans are making progress with budget negotiations and there appears to be consensus about the need for gun reform. It seems that after all the hostility, two camps that were previously irreconcilable might just be able to reach some agreements. 
Maybe a good old street fight (in the metaphorical sense) is actually what’s required when people need to choose between two options which are opposites. I suppose you can’t really make an informed choice about an argument (or a person) until you’ve seen it/them tested to their limit. Making things personal is a step too far but going all out at the other side’s ideology and logic seems useful.

Monday also saw another important day in the American calendar: Martin Luther King Day. With Dr King, you see another example of where the coming together of diametrically opposed views caused a shift in opinion and change for the better. If those involved in the Civil Rights Movement had decided to accept anything less than equality then they may not have been so successful. 

In the next few years, Scotland and the UK will have big decisions to make too. Firstly we’ll have a referendum on independence and then, possibly, on membership of the EU. Hopefully, we’ll have a full debate which will leave no holds barred in examining the merits of each side’s argument. 

However, that might not be enough for the right decision to be reached. If you look at the campaigns of Obama and the Civil Rights, they have many things in common. But the similarity that seems most striking is that both had leaders who were/are charismatic, intelligent and principled. Can we say that about our political leaders today? 

Hopefully, as well as putting these issues to bed for good, the referendums in the UK will also bring to the fore genuine leaders who we can look up to in the same way Americans look up to President Obama and Dr King. 

I’ll leave you with a quote from Dr King about the occasional need for entirely opposite views to be tested against each other; when you can’t compromise. I’ll also leave you with reminder that he had a particularly excellent Tash:


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”


The similarities, and differences, between two of those photos are quite something. 
Have a cracking weekend folks!
Keep going!
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