Who are they? Do they even exist?
“Peacemakers” connote different interpretations. There are those who fight our wars; those who forsake and deter war; those who epitomize calm and common sense; those who are natural mediators, either in their careers, communities and families.
My instinct would be to bemoan the mess in our country created by a corrupt, dishonest and unfit president. Our country has a crying need for a responsible, decent and moral leader. We urgently need to re-establish “peace and tranquility “among the warring factions in our body politic.
I won’t go where so many pundits have ventured. Repetition just makes the pain greater in living in such a wonderful, vibrant country governed by a terrible human being.
I will use my words instead to beckon the vision of a national leader, though flawed, who could bring peace, as defined by civility, deliberateness and compassion, to our roiling land.
Who is that person? Does he or she even exist?
When I sit around a non-profit board table, I observe people incredibly gifted in bringing people together without imposing excessive ego and self-importance on the group. I marvel at the restraint and respect conveyed by these leaders.
As often discussed, the political world is anathema to so many talented and energetic people who are loath to expose their families and themselves to intense scrutiny that borders sometimes on voyeurism. It’s just not worth the heartache, they say.
Allow me to offer an invaluable ingredient: ability to listen. It’s a rare skill.
I wonder if in this vast country of ours we have a politician who truly listens to viewpoints that may not align with his or hers, whose ego is not satisfied solely on being right, but doing right. I’m suggesting a large dose of humility and humor. I’m suggesting a willingness to be selfless, not self-absorbed.
I suspect at this point that readers wonder if I’ve lost my sense of reality and awareness. Some might think I am searching for a human model that simply doesn’t exist. Some might suggest that I remove my veil of self-delusion.
Cast aside my idealism. Focus on the doable. Get real, man. I hear you.
Okay, I would settle for a leader who views truth as an ally, who views opposing points of view as productive, who views decency and integrity as foremost priorities, and who views unity as a worthy goal.
This column is not intended as a political diatribe. It really is a call for help in changing the climate of distrust and cynicism. It’s more than a trumpet call. It’s a scream for rational discourse and common purpose.
We have a crisis in a country typically marked by fealty to individualism. Once in awhile, we coalesce, as we did briefly after the horrendous attack on our homeland on Sept. 11, 2011. We as individuals can act and talk as if each of us matters. We can channel our anger into strong, but not disparaging dialogue.
We can do better.
Blessed are the peacemakers and prophets of calm and consideration who can grasp the levers of leadership in our nation and move it toward a sense of cohesion and cooperation.
Blessed are the peacemakers and purveyors of common sense who understand the value of seeking and cultivating the common ground.
Blessed are the peacemakers who don’t need hearing aids to hear, but an inward motivation to listen and learn.
Does he or she exist? I hope so.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.