My Bar Access this week: Catalano offers post-election reflection

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016
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MBA President Jeffrey N. Catalano

Earlier this week, MBA President Jeffrey N. Catalano shared a discussion on My Bar Access with all sections called "Veterans Day Post-Election Reflection." Below is the full text of that discussion.

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Dear Fellow MBA Leaders:

Recently, I had the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Veterans' Court in Boston. They do this before every session with the veterans holding their hands over their hearts. I hadn't done that in forever, maybe since I was a kid. Throughout this presidential election, I have had the chance to really contemplate these words more deeply:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

It is remarkable that every citizen of this country has taken and memorized this Pledge. It is an elegantly simple statement of principles to which we are all committed. We are pledging allegiance to one indivisible Republic and all that it stands for. A country born to protect the "unalienable rights" of liberty and justice for everyone. A country that stands for racial and religious tolerance and treating one another with respect. A country that loudly invites the world to give us "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," because we will take care of them.

These are the fundamental principles that men and women soldiers have fought and died to defend. I fully realized this a few years ago when I cried at the American Cemetery in Normandy like so many others before me.

So now I write this to myself as much as to anyone. The occasion is upon each of us to rise up and reinvigorate these values. Not through fighting with each other, but through listening to, collaborating with, and inspiring others. Recommit to those principles that truly make this a country worthy of looking up to. A country that should not be admired for how strongly we protect the powerful, but for how relentlessly we defend the disadvantaged. We do not have the luxury of standing idly by and just assuming that our country as a whole accepts that. The MBA understands that. We are taking a lead in making a difference. We drafted civility guidelines because it is never acceptable to treat each other with disrespect. We created a powerful Civil Rights and Social Justice Section Council made up of leaders from every aspect of the civil rights arena because we need an impenetrable defense of our freedoms. We have taken on the responsibility of creating future leaders who will inspire others with compassion and integrity through our new Leadership Academy.

So if you feel the need to take action, rise up and get others to join all of us in leadership. We have a lot of work to do.

Jeff Catalano

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