As the new year turns, I would like to propose a new international policy. When a country is crippled, divided and brought down to its lowest form of human possibility by an inept leader, another country that has a President with a beating heart and intelligence beyond 4thgrade can loan their President out for as long as needed. For the first test case, I would like to invite Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto. We could begin this as an exchange and send ours to darkest Lapland to be sequestered in a sauna until some semblance of a human being appears. Perhaps we could export Fox News as well, shut it down here and watch formerly thinking human begins awake from their trance. Maybe the Finns could resist better than we have.
Meanwhile, imagine that America’s President made a New Year’s speech like this and compare it to the tweets of our Hall of Shame winner. In case we’ve forgotten, having endured 3 years of sub-human leadership and accepted it as the new normal, here’s what a leader is supposed to sound like:
My fellow citizens,
We are on the threshold of a new decade. The 2010s was a time of rapid change. The pace of change will continue to increase, but we can affect the direction it will take.
Unrest, instability and short-term thinking have characterized life both in Finland and the world at large. Counterforces to them must be created. We need more peace, stability and long-term thinking.
Late last year I was startled when I heard an interviewee on a street in London describing the opposing sides of the Brexit dispute: “we’ve learnt to hate each other”. When an issue, no matter how important, breeds hate towards those who think differently, we are heading for trouble. A culture of hate will not carry us far. It will lead to a fall.
I am increasingly concerned about how we in Finland treat one another. It is a matter of respecting each other, and ultimately maintaining social peace. And with it, our security.
Our way of public discussion has changed rapidly. It is increasingly rare to hear those holding opposite views seeking common ground. It is increasingly common to see existing divisions being fortified. Here are “we” who are right, over there are “they” who are wrong.
When there is no longer willingness to engage in a genuine dialogue, deliberate misunderstanding increases. When knowledge is meaningful only when it serves one’s own agenda, half-truths and even lies gain ground.
This is a development we need to end. The question is not only about a more pleasant atmosphere for those taking part in the dialogue. At stake is the single most important factor of Finland’s success. Mutual understanding.
Mutual understanding does not necessarily mean unanimity. There has always been room in this country for different opinions. Issues can be contested, and they should be. But disdaining and belittling others does not help to find solutions to those contested issues. We can do better.…
Man has always believed in the future. Been wrong repeatedly, and then made amends. And succeeded.
I wish you all a happy new year. God bless you!