Making the World Safe for Humanity: The Return of Wisdom

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. 
Reuters/Joshua Roberts, Reuters/Mike Segar

When Cicero spoke, people marveled. When Caesar spoke, people marched – Cato the Elder

When Fauci speaks, people listen. When Cuomo speaks, people act.

What we are seeing play out in the current Coronavirus crisis is that we are hearing from a cast of leaders or at least people in leadership positions.

As we hear from them you can feel either the rise and fall or the fall and rise of our collective fears and anxiety.

I am not taking this opportunity to be negative about anyone, because negativity and bashing is a distraction that we do not have the luxury of getting caught up in. It’s not a time for who did what wrong, but what we can collectively get done to effectively deal with the Coronavirus crisis.

Instead, I will point to the leadership styles of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Governor Andrew Cuomo, because they are frequently on display and because the combination of their styles is exactly the leadership we need.

I may not be speaking for others, but whenever I listen to either of them, they make bad news palatable, tolerable and I am left feeling that we will all get through this and that there is a way through it.

When I hear Dr. Fauci I hear honesty, candor, zero ego, wisdom and strategy that is informed by it. What catches my attention is his wisdom. Wisdom is knowing what is important and what isn’t, what is worth fighting for and what is something you can either compromise or even cede your POV and is usually delivered in a calm and deliberate manner. Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, wisdom and our regard for it appeared to be on hiatus. What was more important were ways to get more, sooner… even when the getting more, sooner may have made us more excited, but did not necessarily make many people happy or serene.

When I hear Governor Cuomo, I also hear honesty, candor, strategy and tactics. I believe that he also possesses wisdom, in that he appears to know what is important, but his “take the hill,” wartime style belies the wisdom that he also possesses underneath. You can take the guy out of NYC, but you can’t take NYC out of the guy (or the feisty Italian fighter in the best sense of the word).

Woodrow Wilson famously pushed the United States into World War I, by declaring the need to “make the world safe for democracy.”

The world has changed since then and although democracy has not procreated as far and wide as democratic nations would prefer, all nations, democratic or totalitarian are currently joined in a war not with each other, but with a common enemy that is threatening not just ways of life, but human life itself.

Wisdom is an idea whose time has come… back.

Maybe the time has come to Make America Wise Again… and maybe the rest of the world.

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