Recently a reader in Utah wrote and asked if I was “familiar with any resources or organization that foster the ideals of peaceful spiritual warrior statesperson?” Although I suggested a couple of organizations dedicated to peace and nonviolence, I was not aware of any organization dedicated to moving politicians and politically motivated individuals into the realm of becoming a statesperson.

Do you? If so, I would love to hear from you – post a comment or send a note.

What Is a Statesperson?

Wikipedia defines it this way: “A statesman is usually a politician, diplomat or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career at the national or international level.” Although that’s true, I believe a statesperson has an additional characteristic not reflected in this definition.

To me, such a person transcends small minded political motivations and instead seeks solutions that will serve the common good of all people in the long-term. Although they may have to play some political games, their eyes are always on the future as to what is best for their country and the world. They see beyond the current election cycle. They see beyond political boundaries.

A statesperson is not afraid to stand up for what is right. Doing the right thing is always more important than fearing any potential political consequences.

We could use a few good statespersons right about now.

Senate Rejects Treaty

This wasn’t a major story in the news this past week, but it should have been. In 2006, the United Nations adopted a treaty designed to protect the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities. The provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities were modeled on our Americans With Disabilities Act passed back in 1990.

The UN treaty basically took our ADA provisions to provide rights and accommodations for the disabled into other countries around the world. We were a world leader in up leveling the quality of life for disabled individuals around the planet.

Most major countries around the world signed the treaty and have ratified it. The US has signed it. This past week, a few politicians in the Senate kept it from being ratified. The Senate overwhelmingly voted for ratification, but fell a few votes short of the two thirds needed in spite of bipartisan support.

I encourage you to read about this. Here’s a few links to news stories and commentaries to give you a fuller picture :

Washington Post story

USA Today editorial in favor of ratification

USA Today editorial against ratification

The bottom line, in my opinion, is there was no real good reason not to ratify this treaty. The opposition was based on unwarranted fears of what “might happen”. There was no real threat to American sovereignty. Yet there was a greater good to be served by ratification. Nothing would have changed in the United States. However, around the world our ratification would’ve sent a message that we still stand for basic human rights. Instead, we sadly sent another message.

Most mainstream editorials have rightly criticized those politicians who voted against the treaty. It’s been said that wealthy right-wing forces, conservative homeschooling groups and the “Christian right” put pressure on them to vote against it. Here was a chance for these politicians to turn away from the fear of political consequences and do the right thing. Here was a chance for them to step out and be a statesperson. Unfortunately, they failed.

Calling all Statespersons

There are major challenges facing our country and the world. These challenges require leaders of vision. They require leaders who are not afraid to step out and do the right thing – moving the country and the world forward towards the greatest good for all.

The reader from Utah who wrote me indicated that they had been involved in the political arena during this last election, believing that their efforts were in service to all those who lived in Utah. However, he added, “After the election was over and looking at what I accomplished I was struck with the thought that I had limited my voice to the Utah State boundaries. I’m now conscious that there are no limitations.”

This is so true – and this is what we need all of our statespersons to recognize.

What you think? I’d love to hear from you – especially if you know of any groups focusing on growing a politician into a statesperson.

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!