Hell no…

I have been catching myself posting a lot of tearful or frowny face emojis to react to my friends’ posts on Facebook these past few weeks, and not liking this wallowing side of myself, I have decided it is time to react.

I consider myself very, very lucky, not lucky as in I have made so much money it doesn’t matter lucky, and I know some people like this, but lucky because life has blessed me with everything a man my age would want:

  • a brilliant and wonderful wife of 22 years;
  • 2 stupendous teenage daughters, bright, loving, blessed with many talents and full of passion for life;
  • a great multi-cultural and multi religion family, spread across 2 countries;
  • a great many friends, all around the world;
  • a great new job running the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), bringing together the countries of the world to compete in the purest forms of human achievements (running, throwing, jumping), but also a job that affords me…
  • a great lifestyle, splitting my time between Monaco where I work, London where i (mostly) live and other places work or leisure calls me to;
  • and finally I’m healthy and pretty well served by good genes, which might explain the first item on this list.

So I am blessed, part of an elite of global citizens. Born in France, American by marriage, I sometimes feel stateless, torn apart between countries, but I also harbor a deep passion for the ideals of what America represents. I remember my naturalization ceremony some 15 years ago in a Federal courthouse in Manhattan, sitting amongst the throngs of humanity from the entire world when I swore allegiance to the flag of these United States of America and felt immensely proud of what it meant. The land of the free, the home of the brave …

And that’s why I’m writing this post today, my first on Medium, spurred on by the examples of humorists, journalists and writers all more talented than me. I don’t even know if anyone will read this, and it doesn’t matter because it is as much a pledge to myself and my family as an appeal to like-minded individuals, no matter their creed, race or political leanings.

I have a set of beliefs and I’m going to fight for them.

So yes, I woke up a week ago in disbelief and hurt at what had happened overnight in the US, but it’s time to stand and fight if needed with all the resources I have at my disposal for what I believe in.

You could say I’m a liberal but like everyone else, I have conflicting views. I don’t think labels really matter anymore as it’s time to remember that politics is the art of compromise, so we need to start by stopping the labelling process:

  • I believe that all men and women are equal no matter their race, creed, belief, sexual preference, political bias or social standing;
  • I believe in the women’s right to choose, period, no condition, and that the government should provide a safe environment for this choice to be effected;
  • I believe that men and women should be equal in all aspects, status, pay, respect, responsibilities, etc… I am surrounded by brilliant women and I have worked for smart women and have learned a lot from them, and I don’t believe it makes me a lesser man to admit it;
  • I believe in the power of democracy because as Churchill said, every other form of government is worse; and that therefore the US president-elect should be respected;
  • I believe in freedom of speech provided it is not hateful;
  • I believe in the role of education to elevate societies;
  • I believe in the sanctity of law and the need to uphold it, so President Elect Trump, please read the Constitution before you swear allegiance to it and uphold its content, not what you’ve been told it means or what you believe it means;
  • I believe that one of the roles of government is to protect the weakest amongst us and allow them to flourish, but I also believe in the virtue of hard work;
  • I believe in the power of facts and science, and that they should be upheld; denying or ignoring them forcefully doesn’t make them disappear;
  • I believe in the role of the press to investigate and inform in impartial and sometimes unpleasant ways; so “Fair and Balanced” should be more than a slogan but a behaviour, because…
  • I believe that one should do what you say you will; and I believe that the Press collectively has failed us miserably these past few months, all of us, no matter your affiliation;
  • I believe that it is our duty to protect the environment as we’re just passengers on this Earth, with duty of care for the next generations;
  • I believe that technology will ultimately improve the human condition, but I also believe it won’t be smooth sailing and we need to understand the impact technological advance and globalization are having;
  • I believe that we’re stronger together, not only the political slogan, the human condition reality. I travel around the world and am amazed always how similar human beings are;
  • I believe that social media can be a force for good if it is more than an echo chamber of sameness; We have all recently forgotten that, so I swear I won’t unfriend the people who have shown allegiance to Mr Trump provided they are behaving in a way that fits my beliefs.

So here we are, these are my beliefs, simply stated. But this post wasn’t about a college educated white man’s beliefs, but rather about his actions, or rather his promises to act:

  1. I will stand up to protect the weak and threatened fiercely fighting in the name of American ideals;
  2. I will fight for my beliefs and combat authoritarianism;
  3. I will not stand for any form of hatred and I call upon President Elect Trump to do the same;
  4. I will listen to the real plight of the less fortunate and do what I can to provide a solution;
  5. I will denounce what’s not right loudly and persistently.
  6. I call upon all like-minded individuals to start a dialog to figure out what to do next. Let’s be honest the Democratic party, the party I most strongly affiliate myself with, has been pretty much devastated this past Tuesday and needs some serious soul searching and rebuilding. We need a new approach, new solutions, new messages;
  7. I will use technology to these ends and to ensure that I don’t live in an artificially enhanced, social media fueled bland sameness of opinions;
  8. On that note, I call upon my geeky friends at Facebook to put their brilliant minds to good use to fix that algorithm.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good (wo)men to do nothing” said very eloquently Edmund Burke. Time to get to work, we won’t let the worst happen, hell no, not on our watch. We owe this to our children.

3 thoughts to get us started:

  1. give money to like-minded candidates, especially targeting rust belt states
  2. launch programs to encourage millennials to vote
  3. start tech training programs for people in so called red states affected by factory jobs delocalization.

It’s a place to start, nothing more. Interested to get the dialog going? Please reach out; if you’re a troll, go do something useful instead, I will not engage…