eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


on monday i was listening to the Diane Rehm Show ("one of her guests is always you!") when who should be on but none other than former U.S. representative and current director of the national endowment for the humanities, the honorable Jim Leach. you can hear the show here.

representative leach spent the hour talking about civility and a series of talks he's giving on the subject. he also spent a good portion of his time talking about the need for citizens to be civil to one another, both in public discourse and abroad. he made a special point about citizen-diplomats and not relying on the government to be the sole diplomatic entity speaking on your behalf. in other words (with apologies to mr. leach) show some respect when you're talking to people. be a good guest and be gracious with your words and actions. anyway, i thought i'd drop him an e-mail:
Good Morning -

I'm still listening to you on the Diane Rehm show but I wanted to drop a note and say how much I am enjoying your talk - with special regards to something specific you said: that the government isn't the only diplomatic entity in the United States; that each citizen, in every way is an extension of diplomacy and has an obligation to remain civil. Powerful stuff, and I couldn't agree more! If you get a chance, please briefly check out http://ghost-runners.blogspot.com. A dear friend and I are going to be traveling through India as "ghost runners." We took our name from the suburban tradition of having an invisible man who plays for both teams during a baseball game, who helps how he can, and leaves no trace. We want to travel the country and meet with people one-on-one to just talk.

I think it's truly important to interact with people across the globe face to face - it's a chance to show respect to others and learn a bit about culture first hand. I deeply endorse the idea of citizen-diplomats and was overjoyed to hear that such an accomplished individual in such a prestigious position agrees whole heartedly. Thank you for being straight-forward and honest. We'll keep doing the same.

and mr. leach's repsonse came shortly thereafter:
Thanks for the note. I am intritgued with your perspective and term: "ghost runners." Sounds a bit conspiratorial but the intent couldn't be more idealistic and as few understand, idealism and practicality are frequently synonomous.
what a thoughful, stand-up dude. we'd love to hear more from mr. leach, and we'll keep you posted if we do. his ideas about civility and respect hit right to the heart of what this trip we're taking is about.

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