Whiting’s Chronicle: Leadership is the Key to Political Change
A rare commodity is not only valuable, but offers an opportunity to the charlatan, the impostor.
This is especially true of leadership. The most important achievements of the group result from its presence. His absence has resulted in a non-functional partisan environment in Congress, in most states, and around the world.
Leaders must choose between yesterday and tomorrow. The poor take the safe route and maintain the status quo. In today’s political environment, the safe path is to adopt one of two extreme positions and political parties, because either extreme position is known, comfortable and acceptable to a group of people who is heard. Staying there does not imply the risk of a change that could mean a better future for all.
Leadership is always sought after, often assumed, rarely present. In its absence, we desperately seek anything that claims to be, looks like it, says it is. We can be so hungry for it that we allow ourselves to be deceived.
A man was lost for three weeks in interior Alaska when his snow machine broke down. When he was found he was 25 miles from the snowmobile eating moose dung. When asked why he had walked so far, he replied, “I had three days’ worth of food. After a week I was starving but saw the golden arches of McDonalds in the distance. I wanted these burgers. The mirage he saw wasn’t there, but his mind wanted it so badly that he not only saw it, but when he got there he was so hungry he couldn’t tell the difference.
Gangs exist because those who feel lost, lack success or recognition in their lives find an association, a leader with whom they can identify. It is inherent in our nature.
Governing by contradictory positions and actions is not effective. Dictatorial action can get things done, but it is rarely acceptable to reasonable people or effective in the long run.
The extremes identify the parameters within which common sense remains, but leadership can provide the areas of common sense between the extremes that we can adapt and support to make solutions appropriate, practical, and achievable.
Effective leaders not only know their own mind, but approach challenges from a position of empathy and need to know opposing opinions. An understanding of the opposition is required, as well as a motivation to meet the needs of the majority in the middle, which expands for the good of the whole. Such hard work and submission is difficult.
If change is desired, one cannot come to an emotionally charged discussion with a list of demands, viewing everyone as an enemy. Selfish, political or partisan needs must be subordinated to human needs and practical implementation. It’s the only way democracy can work and survive when there are only two parties.
Remember that if a party has the President, the House and the Senate, the effective result is dictatorship.
In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers merged their views to recognize our unifying humanity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happiness.” To resolve differences, leaders must think like a spouse; the other becomes the priority requiring actions, not words, to that end if effective solutions are to result.
We are on the verge of losing our national identity. It’s already arrived. Lincoln fought the Civil War to protect the unity of our nation by freeing it from the shame of slavery. “With malice to no one, charity to all, firmness in right as God gives us to see right, let us strive to do all that can bring about and cherish a just and lasting peace not only among all nations, but beginning by ourselves.”
Lincoln had a cabinet of rivals, chosen not to repay political debt but because they were experts in their field. Lincoln listened to their differing views and led them to develop solutions for the good of the nation.
Compromise is not a weakness when it affects the public interest. It requires strength, maturity, illustrating the ability to bend. General denial is not an effective strategy. People have different opinions and situations. Therefore, general denial is not an effective strategy without the use of dictatorial methods.
Companies have learned that different heterogeneous points of view lead to the improvement of products and procedures. Inclusiveness of thoughts means understanding and not rejecting, modifying and not giving in.
The memorable leaders in our lives, whether teachers, coaches, pastors, parents, employers, didn’t need notes when they spoke to you. They didn’t need anyone telling them what to say, watching polls, or taking action to appease their egos. They were mostly worried about us. Their goal was to help us.
Democracy cannot be an internal war between parties, but rather a web of give and take.
If a democracy “of the people, by the people, for the people” is to endure, it requires leaders to have the maturity and passion to work for the good of the average person instead of their ego or their party. It is our personal responsibility to demand political leaders who demonstrate these characteristics.
Bryan Whiting believes that most of our problems are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of nonpartisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: [email protected].