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  • Pat Libby

In 2024, let’s focus on what unites us.



Usually, I’m a happy spirit. But lately, a lot of things have been wearing me down – the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, the war on truth, the war against science and settled law, and the war on the poor and middle class. The list is endless. 


I see a common theme to all of this rancor, strife, and divisiveness. Partisans on each side of the battle look at those who think or act or live or look or worship differently as being completely unlike them.  


It’s frightening in the extreme.    


Right now, there are people on the left and the right who are calling for my death because I am Jewish. And there are Jews who are causing the death of others because they aren’t.  


Some, with the most well-meaning intentions, argue that we’re at our best when we focus on what is unique and distinct about each other, rather than on our similarities and what unites us. 


All of this moves us in the direction of “them-ing” people, calling us to look at how others experience the world differently rather than focusing on our shared experiences.  


We have moved away from a time when the Youngbloods sang:

Come on, people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another right now



 

That sappy 1967 song* meant something. It focused on our shared humanity. It was a plea for compassion and understanding at a time when it seemed the world was falling apart. Sound familiar?


If I could have one wish for the world, it would be that 2024 would be the year of compassion. A time when we would use our hearts and minds to think deeply about what we have in common, and about how to truly love, care for, and respect each other. About what we as individuals can do to create a world where everyone has plenty to eat, a safe home, access to healthcare, human rights, a healthy environment, and most of all love.   


Please do something this year that moves the needle forward. 


Wishing you peace,

Pat Libby


*NPR has an interesting backstory on the song.


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Pat Libby is a change management consultant working principally with nonprofit corporations. She is author of The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 Steps to Passing a Law that Matters to You, Oxford University Press, The Lobbying Strategy Handbook, second edition, Oxford University Press, and Cases in Nonprofit Management, SAGE. She has served as an academic, senior executive, board member, and consultant to innumerable nonprofit organizations and foundations for more than three decades.


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