Stephen Young, Global Executive Director, Caux Round Table, speaking at Caux (Photo: Blair Cummock)We had, to me, a very surprising development in Washington, DC yesterday, one right in line with some fundamental approaches advocated by the CRT and like-minded organizations.
A President of the United States quickly and without any spin took personal responsibility for a mistake. He held himself personally accountable and was transparent about the mistake his team had made on his behalf.
No obfuscations; no lame or evasive comments to infer that nothing untoward had really happened; no pointing to "enemies" or to a hostile 'liberal" or "talk-radio" media unbecomingly bent on making celebrity mountains out of irrelevant little molehills; no assertion that there was nothing more than mean-spirited, crass politics at the bottom of the embarrassing accusations.
No, just a statement that "I messed up." And even more to the point: "I screwed up."
A second high-level presidential appointment had became a liability because the individual appointed – this time former Senate leader Tom Daschle – had been too clever by half in paying, or really not paying, his taxes.
President Obama immediately took responsibility and accepted the blame. He did not try to duck or hide.
When we see good values of accountability and transparency modeled in powerful leaders, we should be grateful and express our thanks.
Would that there was more of this from political and business leaders.
What if some of those once powerful in the now collapsed Wall Street world of investment finance would also step up and say: "We messed up. It's our fault."