“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius
As a believer in Stoic principles, this quote from Marcus Aurelius, one of the most respected emperors in Roman history, really resonates with me. The stoics believed in action over words. And the first action is to stand up for your beliefs and values.
When I moved to this country from Argentina nearly 17 years ago, I came with a strong belief in the institutions and the principles this country was founded upon. I believed that the United States’ core values of freedom, justice, courage, equality, and pursuit of dreams represented the most powerful forces for human advancement. I still do today and feel so fortunate to have been able to reap the gifts of these virtues and establish a life for myself, my family, and my company.
I eventually became an American citizen because I was committed to these principles. And because I had great intent to be an active participant of our society and not just a spectator.
As an American, I care deeply about what happens to the place that now is my home. I want to see it improve, and I want to contribute to that improvement. As we approach perhaps one of the most important elections in history, I stand up for what I believe in as a man and as a lover of this great country.
In the last four years, our elected leaders have not lived up to the values that drew me here. They have not moved the country forward, nor have they unified the American people. Quite the opposite. Thankfully, our democracy is in place to allow for replacement and renewal. Four years is a very short time in the life of a nation, even though it has felt like a very long time in my personal life.
I have always held true to my core beliefs, but feel like they have been even more reinforced in recent years, which is why I choose to stand with those whose views are aligned with mine—like those expressed in this post by Manu Kumar, entrepreneur, friend, and one of the first investors in Auth0. His integrity, passion, dedication, compassion, and extraordinary human qualities are truly admirable.
Without being too redundant, I want to reiterate and emphasize what I believe so strongly in:
- I believe in facts, science, and the truth.
- I believe in global warming.
- I believe in universal healthcare.
- I believe in equal rights and justice for all.
- I believe women are still not afforded the same opportunities and that they have the right to choose what they do with their own bodies.
- I believe that Black Lives Matter and that racism is still an unfortunate, sad, not fully resolved, and unacceptable issue.
- I believe in a true democracy and local government.
- I believe in open markets, open networks, and an open internet.
- I believe that access to education is one of the most powerful methods to unleash human potential. And that education should be a right afforded to everyone.
- I believe that anyone aligned with the nation’s foundational values should be welcome.
- I believe in the deep power of human potential regardless of disabilities, mental or physical. I believe it is our responsibility to find ways to realize that potential and improve our communities.
- I believe that businesses’ success should be measured by their financial outcomes and their social responsibility actions simultaneously. And that businesses with outstanding economic success without social impact are not truly successful.
- I believe silence makes you complicit.
- I believe our country has risen to the occasion and has worked in unity when previously confronted with big challenges. And prevailed.
- I believe we can fix things. We can learn from mistakes, and that technology, a uniquely human capability, plays an important role.
I believe that those in power should lead by example, be held accountable, and be used as a measure of what we all aspire to be. We need leaders who will work for an equal, inclusive, empathetic, humane society and do so with integrity and honesty. They will be human and imperfect, but they should strive to improve themselves towards the ideals that we set for ourselves—the ideas that resonate with us as American citizens.
Most importantly, I believe we all have a duty to actively participate. To voice our opinions and convictions. And perhaps the most powerful act of civic responsibility is voting. It’s a power and a right I will never take for granted. Nor should you. I believe that every individual has the ability to make a positive impact at a community, state, and national level.
I believe each of us can be part of the change we want to see.