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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Words into Action

Over the course of the next few months as I continue to actively explore a candidacy for the United States Senate, I want to engage the citizens of Minnesota in a serious discussion about the future direction of this country. To that end, I have developed this blog in the hopes that average citizens can not only read my views on a variety of issues, but also share their thoughts, ideas and concerns on these—or any other—topics with me.

Ideally, I want to have a constructive dialogue—one which embraces a diversity of opinions and is free of unconstructive criticism—and leaves me better informed about how and what people are thinking about the most pressing issues of the day; and provides you a clearer understanding of how I am thinking about, learning about and attempting to deal with these complex issues.

To get things started, I want to share with you why I am contemplating a bid for the U.S. Senate. The best way I can do this is to share with you some of my favor quotes. They come from a diverse group of individuals including Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, John F. Kennedy, Gandhi and Alan Kay, and are listed below in no particular order:

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
--President John F. Kennedy

The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
--Albert Einstein

Never doubt that a small deeply committed group of individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has.”
--Margaret Mead

The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
--Alan Kay

The two common themes which tie the quotes together are a compelling commitment to the future and the need for individuals to recognize that they have a role (and, I would argue, a responsibility) in creating that future.

For the past three years, since I have left the Ventura Administration, I have written a series of books. Two have been on nanotechnology: The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business and Investing In Nanotechnology – which is due out in early 2006; and two have been on the topic of leadership: Into the Unknown: Leadership Lessons from Lewis and Clark’s Daring Westward Adventure and Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall.

The two topics – nanotechnology and leadership – may strike some as odd or incongruent, but in my mind they are perfectly compatible. As a result of my understanding of nanotechnology, I can envision a future of almost unlimited possibilities. I can see an era where ubiquitous, state-of-the-art education; universal, high-quality health care; and cheap, clean, sustainable energy are not simply pipe-dreams, they are very real possibilities.

To achieve these goals, however, we need leadership – real leadership. The change that is being hoisted upon society by the forces of nanotechnology, biotechnology, the mapping of the human genome, and, more broadly, globalization, are very real. We can either harness these forces to create a better society or we can close our eyes and pretend they don’t exist or, alternatively, hope they’ll go away.

The latter two options are, of course, not solutions at all. Therefore, I am of the very strong opinion that we don’t have any alternative but to engage society in a discussion about our future. The bottom-line is this: we can either allow others to create our future or we can create it ourselves.

I choose the latter. And because I have not yet heard any of the other candidates for U.S. Senate talk in any meaningful way about how they intend to create this better future, the time is fast approaching when I have to put my “money where my mouth is.” Said another way, it is time for me to put my words and beliefs into action, and one way I can do that is by running for – and winning – a seat in the U.S. Senate.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please encourage others to visit the site and post their thoughts and ideas as well (I intend to update the blog on a regular basis). The first step to creating this new future is to engage others in a meaningful dialogue about how we can create it.