I just experienced a nudge into a new (for me) area of technology. The phone rang. On the other end I heard the state director of AARP inviting me (and 1800 other people, I found out later) to join a telephone town meeting with the governor of Washington state. The conversation, he said, was to be about the challenge of maintaining public services and quality of life in our state in the face of the worst recession in 50 years.
Intrigued, I stayed on the line to hear Governor Gregoire, sounding like she was in the next room, talk about the work facing our state legislators, now in week four of a short session, as they try to close a 2.6 billion dollar gap between the money on hand and the needs of the state.
She said we’re trying to climb out of the worst recession in 80 years. (I don’t know whether it’s 50 years or 80 years, but I am sure the governor is right in saying that we came out of the Great Depression of the ’30s because we as a country united to lift ourselves out of it. The way we got out of that depression was by putting people back to work. That is the way we’ll get out of it today.
Our legislators know they can’t make enough cuts to services or raise enough revenue to plug all the holes in the budget. So as they struggle to balance a very boney budget and not leave more people hanging out over a financial abyss, I was thrilled to hear some thoughtful suggestions coming in from my fellow citizens. I’m glad to know that the governor was listening and I hope our legislators were.
Way back in February of 1842, Abraham Lincoln gave a temperance address in Springfield, Illinois. He said, “When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a ‘drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’”
Lincoln’s words are still true. So are the governor’s words, “Today we understand the fundamental value of helping our fellow citizens.”
As people of good will work together, I’m hoping we can overcome the disasters caused by those who put their own wealth and power ahead of the welfare of their fellow citizens. We won’t overcome by force, or by imposing our own will, but by kind persuasion and a desire to help others.