Why not do something legendary?

It’s time for leaders to inspire us

Tijn Touber | Jan/Feb 2005 issue
A couple of weeks ago the 16-year-old daughter of an American friend came to visit. The first evening she wanted to go to a punk concert in a rough neighborhood of Amsterdam. It seemed like the ideal setting for drugs, violence and disaster. But it turned out not to be so bad after all. The band performing at the concert was from the Straight Edge movement. These fierce looking punk rockers don’t drink, smoke or use drugs. They are vegetarian, don’t wear leather and have sex only with their own partners in a committed relationship.
We’re so used to thinking in boxes we can hardly imagine that a punk rocker can be peace-loving, that a Muslim would seek dialogue or that an American wants to negotiate. The truth, of course, is much more boundless. If a punk rocker can preach peace, can’t an American president stop dividing the world into white and black cowboy hats? Can’t a Muslim fundamentalist say he or she is sorry about religious violence that has been inflicted?
It only took one legendary pop song—by Ian MacKaye of the American hardcore punk band Minor Threat—to encourage a group of punks to embrace a new lifestyle. What would happen if all the muftis, ayatollahs, popes, soccer players, heavy metal thrashers, hip hop heroes, film stars, politicians and other opinion makers were to each offer a legendary sermon, appeal, song, or speech of peace?
Bush could paraphrase John F. Kennedy in a glorious speech which begins like this: “I am a Muslim.” Bin Laden could make a video clip in which he renounces violence. The pope could take his popemobile to Mecca. Not to talk, but to join in the pilgrimage. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon wouldn’t have to say anything either, taking a pickaxe to the wall around the Palestinian territories would be enough.
Just as only a hardcore rocker was able to offer punks a fresh perspective, a hardcore American is the only one who can reach the majority of Americans. A respected Christian can only get through to other Christians and a renowned Muslim can only stir other Muslims. Think of Mikhail Gorbachev. Only a communist official could dismantle communism. History is rife with inspired moments in which someone, one person, was able to bowl over public opinion.
It shouldn’t be too hard to find the right words these days. Many people are afraid of the future of our planet and many feel it is time to join hands in the task of saving humanity from war, poverty and pollution. Every pop song, sermon, speech or performance that underscores our joint aspirations, will be greeted with resounding applause.
Come on opinion makers! Render yourselves immortal. Do something crazy for a change. Do something very different from what we expect of you. Be inspiring and do something legendary.

Solution News Source

Why not do something legendary?

It’s time for leaders to inspire us

Tijn Touber | Jan/Feb 2005 issue
A couple of weeks ago the 16-year-old daughter of an American friend came to visit. The first evening she wanted to go to a punk concert in a rough neighborhood of Amsterdam. It seemed like the ideal setting for drugs, violence and disaster. But it turned out not to be so bad after all. The band performing at the concert was from the Straight Edge movement. These fierce looking punk rockers don’t drink, smoke or use drugs. They are vegetarian, don’t wear leather and have sex only with their own partners in a committed relationship.
We’re so used to thinking in boxes we can hardly imagine that a punk rocker can be peace-loving, that a Muslim would seek dialogue or that an American wants to negotiate. The truth, of course, is much more boundless. If a punk rocker can preach peace, can’t an American president stop dividing the world into white and black cowboy hats? Can’t a Muslim fundamentalist say he or she is sorry about religious violence that has been inflicted?
It only took one legendary pop song—by Ian MacKaye of the American hardcore punk band Minor Threat—to encourage a group of punks to embrace a new lifestyle. What would happen if all the muftis, ayatollahs, popes, soccer players, heavy metal thrashers, hip hop heroes, film stars, politicians and other opinion makers were to each offer a legendary sermon, appeal, song, or speech of peace?
Bush could paraphrase John F. Kennedy in a glorious speech which begins like this: “I am a Muslim.” Bin Laden could make a video clip in which he renounces violence. The pope could take his popemobile to Mecca. Not to talk, but to join in the pilgrimage. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon wouldn’t have to say anything either, taking a pickaxe to the wall around the Palestinian territories would be enough.
Just as only a hardcore rocker was able to offer punks a fresh perspective, a hardcore American is the only one who can reach the majority of Americans. A respected Christian can only get through to other Christians and a renowned Muslim can only stir other Muslims. Think of Mikhail Gorbachev. Only a communist official could dismantle communism. History is rife with inspired moments in which someone, one person, was able to bowl over public opinion.
It shouldn’t be too hard to find the right words these days. Many people are afraid of the future of our planet and many feel it is time to join hands in the task of saving humanity from war, poverty and pollution. Every pop song, sermon, speech or performance that underscores our joint aspirations, will be greeted with resounding applause.
Come on opinion makers! Render yourselves immortal. Do something crazy for a change. Do something very different from what we expect of you. Be inspiring and do something legendary.

Solution News Source

SIGN UP

TO GET A Free DAILY DOSE OF OPTIMISM

Optimist Subscriber
Delivery Frequency *
reCAPTCHA

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. Privacy Policy