Published: October 9, 2015
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, George J. Mitchell, chairman of the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and author of “The Negotiator: A Memoir,” spoke passionately among notable lawyers and court officials about the importance of ideals at the Elm Park United Methodist Church on Oct. 6.
Mitchel began his lecture emphasizing the United States’ population growth, stating;
“It took 1,800 years following the birth of Christ for the earth’s population to reach one billion. The most recent billion, seven, was added in the next 13 years. Of the seven billion on earth today, one in five are Muslim.”
However, he did not expand further on this point.
Due to the lack of evidence, Michael Allison, Ph.D. associate professor and chair, department of social justice, coordinator, and education for justice, explained that the audience was confused by his message, more specifically the attendees with an Islamic background.
“It was more or less of he left us wondering what his point was. He never got the ability to clarify it to us, and I did hear that the Muslim students in the audience, up top, who did not get up and cheer when everyone else clapped.”
Mitchell then spoke more on what the U.S. ideals are when creating a more stabilized society.
“Everybody has a chance,” Mitchell outlined, “America is freedom and Opportunity. A society, which no one should be guaranteed success, but everyone should have a fair chance to succeed.”
Mitchell is confident that the U.S. can solve every problem, but he touched lightly on the capacity the United States has to take on anyone else’s problem but our own.
“The Unites States is asked to intervene in other lands to resolve conflict and ancient disputes,” Mitchell expands further on the importance of keeping reality, “and we will undoubtedly and appropriately respond to some, but we must be very careful and selective and we must act with restraint.”
In contrast, Allison explains that the United States cannot think solely of the nation itself, since we are the source of many problems abroad.
“We’re a country that pursue its self-interest, that for us, we broadly define as global.”
Although our nation’s economic strength and military power are necessary and important, the principle of American individuality is a concept our society cannot take lightly.
“No American should ever forget that the United States of America was a great nation long before it was a military power, or economic powerhouse. And recognize that all human beings and all human institutions, are imperfect.”
Mitchell explains that from its beginning, our society was looked upon as abiding equally to all citizens and crucially to the government itself. America’s democratic ideals are what distinguishes us internationally, but not always nationwide.
Thomas Karam, a student at The University, highlighted what Mitchell preached during the lecture.
“The most important people in a democracy are the citizens. We should look to the past and learn from it in order to continue to do great things and change the world for the better.”
The T. Linus Hoban Memorial Lecture is annually presented to the community of Scranton through speakers who are remarkable in fields of law, government, and public affairs.
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