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Values and Vision

May 22, 2009

In his reflection on yesterday’s war of words between former Vice President Dick Cheney and President Barack Obama over how the country can best deal with the ongoing threat of terrorism, Philip Palin, writing in Homeland Security Watch, seemed to come down clearly on the side of the president.  In short, Palin argued that values matter, and without them leaders risk taking short-sighted decisions.

Without criticizing the previous administration directly or for that matter endorsing the policies of the current one, Palin notes that the rhetoric each is using makes a difference, not only in how each side views the other, but also in how others see us as a nation.  Appeals to morality will fall on deaf ears if our leaders do not back them with tangible efforts to retake the high ground.

Informing our strategies, whether national or international in scope or oriented toward conditions closer to home, with the aspirations and values of stakeholders, including the “other side,” helps us see issues from multiple perspectives, which reduces the risk we will see only what we want to see rather than what we need to see.  At the same time, values-based perspectives show us how we can turn our vision into reality by appealing to the shared values and aspirations of those we need working alongside us.

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