"If not me, who? And if not now, when?"

November 5, 2015

 

At the height of the cold war Mikhail Gorbachev asked (perhaps as much to himself as the world at large) -

 

"If not me, Who? And if not now, When?"

 

To be sure, Gorbachev was dealing with issues of immense importance. From maintaining the USSR as a single sovereign state to the potential of nuclear conflict with the West, recovering from war in Afghanistan and the rise of democracy & capitalism under Reagan & Thatcher to name but a few. 

 

And yet, in the face of these amazing challenges (not to speak of the pressure he was under domestically from political rivals and 'friends' alike) Gorbachev stood up. He accepted responsibility. He made himself accountable. 

 

"If not me, Who? And if not now, When?" 

 

With these nine words, Gorbachev said more than a thousand page manifesto. He transformed the mindset of millions of people. He gave voice to hope withexpectation. He made it about himself but also about every single occupant of the planet. He made it universal and personal.

 

Over the last 25 years our Global Society has become accustom to abrogating responsibility & relinquishing accountability. We blame our politicians and complain about our bosses. We vent about our judiciary and gossip about our co-workers. We rage about injustices and ignore so many of the horrors. 

 

And yet, ironically perhaps, we talk a lot about leadership. Of wanting someone to stand up and take the lead. Someone to take action. Someone to do what we know needs to be done. 

 

I wonder if that someone is closer than we might believe?

 

"If not me, Who? And if not now, When?" 

 

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"If not me, who? And if not now, when?"

November 5, 2015

 

At the height of the cold war Mikhail Gorbachev asked (perhaps as much to himself as the world at large) -

 

"If not me, Who? And if not now, When?"

 

To be sure, Gorbachev was dealing with issues of immense importance. From maintaining the USSR as a single sovereign state to the potential of nuclear conflict with the West, recovering from war in Afghanistan and the rise of democracy & capitalism under Reagan & Thatcher to name but a few. 

 

And yet, in the face of these amazing challenges (not to speak of the pressure he was under domestically from political rivals and 'friends' alike) Gorbachev stood up. He accepted responsibility. He made himself accountable. 

 

"If not me, Who? And if not now, When?" 

 

With these nine words, Gorbachev said more than a thousand page manifesto. He transformed the mindset of millions of people. He gave voice to hope withexpectation. He made it about himself but also about every single occupant of the planet. He made it universal and personal.

 

Over the last 25 years our Global Society has become accustom to abrogating responsibility & relinquishing accountability. We blame our politicians and complain about our bosses. We vent about our judiciary and gossip about our co-workers. We rage about injustices and ignore so many of the horrors. 

 

And yet, ironically perhaps, we talk a lot about leadership. Of wanting someone to stand up and take the lead. Someone to take action. Someone to do what we know needs to be done. 

 

I wonder if that someone is closer than we might believe?

 

"If not me, Who? And if not now, When?"