Leading from the center

Change cannot be forced on Honduras without utterly destroying the fabric of Honduran society by pitting party against party, class against class, family against family, and sector against sector. Democracies cannot be governed successfully over the long-term from either the far left or the far right. Eventually, the pendulum will swing the other way and whatever perceived or real progress was made before will be washed away by a new movement that will seek to make up for lost time and bruised egos. As is in a game of chess, you stand the best chance of consistently winning when you control the center of the board. You have a better view from the middle and you have access to more paths and more players.

The United States is emerging from eight years of right-wing rule. It is a divided nation that is still involved in two wars, carries a massive foreign debt of more than $10 trillion and annual deficits approaching $1 trillion, has a myriad of long-neglected domestic issues which include a collapsing transportation infrastructure; a population that suffers from obesity, drug abuse, and stress; and inefficient and wasteful healthcare delivery system; out-of-control special interests that corrupt government; an unregulated and overly greedy financial community; high rates of personal and corporate bankruptcies… and on and on.

Despite all of this, though, the US has a huge reservoir of resources that it can put into play to begin to address its problems. It has a well-educated population. It has world-class competitive corporations, universities, and research institutes. It has tens of thousands of non-profit foundations and well-funded churches and well-endowed philanthropic organizations. It has a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit and creative talent. It has cutting edge technologies. It has a professional civil service and a relatively unpoliticized and responsive judicial system. It still has a fairly large, influential, and powerful middle class.

Honduras has no such reservoir. It does not have the luxury of throwing caution to the wind and undertaking experiments that divide and polarize the nation by governing without consensus from one end of the spectrum or the other. All of the Honduras’ limited human capital has to be tapped if the country ever hopes to emerge intact from endemic poverty and injustice.

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