For this writer the words “United States of America” bring a sense of well being. We are proud to be an American. But why, we ask ourselves? Because America means everything that is good about humanity. America means pride, honor, integrity, ingenuity, exploration, curiosity, kindness, dignity, understanding, openness, comfort, fairness, leadership, bravery, courage, humility, beautiful, equality, happiness, liberty, farming, industry, technology, education, thriftiness, Samaritan — How many words are there to describe America? Too many to list – but they are inevitably positive. These words are all true when our country is led by grown ups.
This is true whether in foreign or domestic policy. Adults look out for others. Adults do not burden others. Adults do not squander resources – they manage resources responsibly. Adults work together for common good. Adults approach problems proactively. Adults come together in times of crisis.
Our country finds itself in a financial crisis because adults have not been running the government. Adults have not been managing the banking industry. Our country was attacked by terrorists because adults were not running their respective countries. There are adult behaviors – and there are immature behaviors.
Only a few short years ago our country was attacked by terrorists. Youthful terrorists are called bullies. Adult terrorists are called criminals or enemy combatants. We have our own Idea about the word ‘criminal.’ Any way we define the acts of terror, there are reactionary responses of vengeance and punishment – and there are adult responses of disciplined forethought concerned with our hopes for the future of humanity.
Terrorism is fundamentally an immature response to life. But the use of terror for power or control over others is not limited to children. Terrorism exists beyond physical atrocities, it exists in threatening behavior, in taunting, in spreading rumors, in hate speech. Immaturity minimizes one’s own behavior, maximizing and exaggerating the behavior of targeted others, rationalizing a mean spirited response – then excusing the behavior as being justified.
Make no mistake about it – Untethered bullies are criminal terrorists. We live in a modern world – a world where immature behavior has been studied to the n’th degree. These studies have been applied very effectively in institutions, in communities, and in family dynamics. A studied and proactive, need we say – mature, response to the future might look something like this:
- Civilized governments and cultures should have firm limits to unacceptable behavior.
- Civilized leaders should work together to insure compliance of behavior standards.
- Civilized countries should remain consistent in response to problems.
- Civilized countries should be positive role models
- Civilized countries should maintain a positive international tone in word and action.
- Civilized leaders are more mature than terrorists.
- Civilized leaders greet and welcome other countries.
- Civilized leaders note the positives of other countries, rather than focusing on the negatives.
- Civilized legislators note the positives of other Parties, rather than focusing on the negatives.
- Civilized countries give attention to less fortunate countries as a proactive foreign policy.
- Civilized countries mentor developing nations.
- Civilized means being above finger pointing.
These behaviors by a civilized world serve several purposes:
- They remove the power from the terrorists.
- They connect people with leadership.
- They change the international culture.
- They support and protect targets of terrorism.
Brave and mature leaders have the courage to be kind, to be all of the words that describe the America we are proud of. Courage and maturity define grown ups. America should be led by grown ups.