A crisis of leadership …

leadership 6

My name is David Wesley Tonkin and I wrote this message.

Increasing numbers of people in our country seem to embrace racial hatred and intolerance. America is more permissive of blatant racism than at any time since the struggle for civil rights between 1954 and 1968. Bigotry rarely exists in an isolated remoteness; it is accompanied by specifically loathsome anti-Semitism, despicable anti-black, anti-Latino racism and dreadful anti-Muslim prejudice.

The current politicians who verbally espouse, champion and embrace these manifestations of bigotry will eventually leave office; however the real harm to our society that they have purposefully perpetrated cannot simply be disengaged or auto-magically vanish. If left to grow unchecked and not formidably denounced our country will continue to lose headway. We the people desperately need leadership with the will to unequivocally turn this around and labor long and hard to remove these evils. We cannot wait a moment longer!

We are in a situation not unlike this scene in the movie “The American President”.  The White House speechwriter Lewis Rothschild (played by Michael J. Fox) says to President Andrew Shepard (portrayed by Michael Douglas) … “People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”

Lewis Rothschild goes on to say … “Oh, yes!  I’m a citizen, this is my country it is not only permissible to question our leaders it’s our responsibility!”

I started to think about it; what is actually leadership; or specifically political leadership? The dictionaries all have precise and bland colorless descriptions; they do not seem to be enough. What I decided to do was examine what intellectually powerful people and recognized thought leaders had to say on the topic.

In today’s “climate” I think this definition is profoundly necessary … “Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed” Mwai KibakiI (Kenyan politician and President who successfully championed a style of publicity adversity with highly intelligent, predictable and competent technocratic leadership).  Is it just me, or are there very few of the “better the lives of others” types around in our political cadre!?

Mr. Kibakil’s view of leadership is powerfully buttressed by the opinions of the following people of consequence …

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”  Jim Rohn (An American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker)

“You don’t lead by hitting people over the head … that is assault, not leadership” Dwight D. Eisenhower (US President)

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” Peter Drucker (Globally renowned author and leadership consultant)

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu (An ancient Chinese philosopher and writer)

“We the leaders need to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave to our children and their children.”  Kofi Annan (United Nations Secretary-General and renowned global statesman)

Another sobering opinion is this one … “The employer generally gets the employees he deserves” J. Paul Getty (British American petrol-industrialist, and the patriarch of the Getty family). The implication of these words is recognizable and starkly demonstrated today by so many of our politicians.

From a totally different source; and as vividly illustrated almost every day today; so vital a component to leadership skills! “One of the basic qualities of any leader seeking success is precisely emotional intelligence, that ability … often innate … that makes leaders put themselves in the place of others, understand their concerns and solve problems.”  (GameLearn Leadership Training – The most awarded game-based learning platform in the world)

Finally there is this simple, powerful warning …“It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.” an ancient Latin proverb. Chilling!

I think I now have a fairly realistic, sober, informed and clear understanding of the leadership we the people need and more importantly deserve from those who wield political power in State Capitols across our country and at First Street SE, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Of course the parallel resounding understanding is that those currently in elected roles, and based on unmistakable exhibited performance to-date, exhibit or deploy very few or none of the attributes prescribed as essential components for leadership.  So, therefore, it is safe and logical to presume that there is no hope whatsoever that racial hatred and intolerance, and several other odious social maladies and behaviors will diminish or be systematically eradicated!

Cut to the scene where crowds of anguished people are now wringing their hands in anguish and loudly proclaiming “Oh! Woe is me … who will help us!?”

Let us start looking for an answer with this erudite suggestion … “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”   Barack Obama (US President). Further supportive wisdom will be found in “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead (An American cultural anthropologist).

On Tuesday, the 6th of November, 2018, starting around 07:00 AM in your local time zone you can do something practical to support the quest for leadership. Do not squander this opportunity to go and vote for someone with the intellectual capability, integrity and humanity to be the leader in your constituency and in Washington DC.  We the people need this now!

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

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