AND Celebrate Each Step

June 12th, 2016

Almost one hundred and fifty years after becoming a country, the United States granted women the right to vote. This week, nearly one hundred years after gaining the right to vote, the citizens of this country have virtually completed a primary elective process that has name a woman the presumptive nominee for one of the two primary political parties engaged in a battle to elect the next President of the United States.

Whether you are a fan of Hillary Clinton or a detractor, she stands on the shoulders of many who have fought for women’s rights and the recognition of women’s ability to lead our country. History has indeed been made. AND I was struck by the joy and overwhelming gratitude in her face and demeanor when she faced the people in Brooklyn to celebrate her presumptive status. I was also struck by her focus on those who came before her who paved the way and on whose achievements and shoulders she stands today.

AND I love that, in addition to recognizing the many who came before her, she also recognized those who have made her success to date possible, quoting her own book that it takes a village. What is especially worthy of note for me is that on behalf of the women, men, and underrepresented voices of different races and backgrounds, she is standing for the power to stand together, as opposed to the power over others.

The stalled Supreme Court process, blocked by one party in Congress, represents power over. Any use of power to dominate and control another individual, set of events, or a people is power over. Power over elevates the power of one or a limited group over the collective. Power to is about recognizing that we are stronger when people bring diverse perspectives and insights to bear and are valued and heard.

Our ideas and decisions are better when they come from people who feel empowered and engaged to work together to create a world of possibilities for all. Including different perspectives, insights, and experiences makes us a wiser and more capable nation in the creation of peace and resilience in today’s world.

Each of us has the opportunity, on a daily basis, to be the kind of person who empowers others. We can choose to create situations where we help ourselves and others to find the power to make our dreams a reality, envision a new future, and create the kind of society that fosters the best in everyone. Any energy devoted to trying to control others’ behaviors, values, or beliefs robs them of their power and sets a course for disempowerment by feeding the destructive forces of fear, denigration, inequality, and power over.

Perhaps if we could be less judgmental, more open to celebrating and recognizing the good that others do, we would help create a collective with the power to step into our potential. For each step we take towards equality, shared governance, collective potential, and the elevation of new voices that represent these ideals, let us celebrate. The road has been a long one and there is still much to do. Every step matters, just as every voice matters.

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