When Bono started getting photos taken with George W Bush he got a lot of criticism. For many Bush was a dodgy political character and Bono should be standing against him rather than smiling alongside him. Even U2’s drummer Larry shared some uneasiness.
When asked about it in the book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, Bono gave a fascinating insight. He told Assayas a story about Martin Luther King at a meeting to discuss how they would deal with Robert Kennedy.
Everyone is bad mouthing Kennedy when King stops and asks for something positive. When no one could find anything positive he adjourned the meeting and said they would reconvene when they could find something positive as it was those good things about people that were the doors to change. Bono therefore found something positive in all kinds of people, living by Dr King's principle.
“It was those good things about people that were the doors to change.” Now there is an idea that would transform the wheeling and dealing at Stormont. In our reflections on Martin McGuinness and the Paisley family over the past few weeks, we saw that proven to be right.
I do not believe that Martin McGuinness’s head shifted at all from his desire for a united Ireland. I do not believe that Ian Paisley surrendered his desire for Northern Ireland to remain British. Somewhere though their hearts saw something good in the other and that brought significant change to Northern Ireland.
For that change to continue, political leaders need to step into the void left by McGuinness and Paisley. On the day that we remember the death of Dr. King let us via Bono encourage our political leaders, in the middle of their tense negotiations, to find something positive in the other.
Therein, said Dr King, lies your door to change.