“We must work in a spirit of cooperation, and with a commitment to our own principles.”
We begin 2019 with a Quote of the Week that sets an intention for the year ahead: to work with others in a spirit of cooperation, and with a commitment to our fundamental principles of achieving dignity, justice, and equality for all. From our personal dealings with others to the work that lays ahead for our newly-minted, 116th Congress, may we all work to create an environment that fosters the collaboration we need to tackle our deepest challenges.
Sargent Shriver said these words at the Alabama Young Democrats Convention on September 6, 1974. The convention was held four weeks after President Richard Nixon had resigned from office and Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. In this moment of rupture and uncertainty for the country, Sargent Shriver spoke of renewal and of purpose, proposing a way of working with Republicans that reflected his general attitude. While he never set aside his personal values, Sargent Shriver fostered collaboration and aimed for consensus, even in difficult moments. This ability of Sarge’s was an asset throughout his career, as shown in the way he swayed the Congress to support legislation for the creation of the Peace Corps and the Office of Economic Opportunity (the office of the War on Poverty).
The approach that Sargent Shriver proposes is easy to articulate, but it can, admittedly, be difficult to maintain. And yet, in any situation where we must collaborate with peers with disparate and at times opposing points of view, we must use our principles as our compass and approach our problem-solving with others in a way that fosters collaboration.