Power to the People

To start the final day of GovSec 2012, former Sen. George Mitchell took the stage to provide the keynote for attendees of the conference and FOSE.

A capacity crowd heard what I would call wisdom of the ages.

I’ve met a lot of influential people in my day, and introducing the senator to the crowd is one of those cool moments in my life.

Mitchell, it would seem to me, is cool under fire and has a wealth of knowledge we all would be benefactors of hearing and listening to. He opened with a personal story about his older brothers, all of whom were tenacious and dominant athletes in their hometown of Maine. Mitchell, it would seem, was the kid brother.

Not so much today as the former leader of the House of Representatives also has served as a federal judge in his home state of Maine. His address was simple and packed with good advice. Security is a personal responsibility and a worldwide threat.

Mitchell served as a special envoy of the U.S. government for Middle East peace and shared several insights about the peace process. One of the problems, it would seem, is the former leaders with Palestinian interests were unsuccessful in establishing a separate and free state for the Palestinians is their lack, or lack of ability, to compromise.

No compromise, no peace.

The senator also related his experiences during the IRA revolution in Northern Ireland. He said it was the willingness of different faction leaders’ ability to lay their personal interests aside and negotiate for the betterment of the British Isles.

This, according to Mitchell, is the mark of a true politician -- to be able to express leadership through compromise. Mitchell said that is a problem in today’s political arena, the lack of leadership, and the stepped up visceral underpinnings of campaign tones and pointed political attacks.

The political process, Mitchell pointed out, has never been without disagreement and discontent, but politicians today seem to desire a public forum rather than compromise. Mitchell said even the Founding Fathers disagreed on political messages but their tactic to reconciliation was diplomacy.

The government security message echoed his words of wisdom: compromise in a political discussion and prove political leadership without slinging stinging barbs at your opponent.

Mitchell’s delivery and response was everything you hope it would be from a man of wisdom, thus having political undertones, but a message an audience rarely hears. His advise and years of experience spoke volumes of peace and civility.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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