Tag Archives: Leadership

The character and conduct of a nation’s leaders

In many of the open America protest it is not unusual to see signs saying or paraphrasing the familiar refrain:

“Give  me liberty or give me death”

But what many in this country have forgotten is liberty is not something granted to us at birth. Nor is it something that is maintained without a willingness to acquire the knowledge required to see the true character of its leaders and to use that knowledge to hold them to a standard of accountability that is high, if not higher than they would hold themselves.

It is true that even when the people have a desire to inform and educate themselves on the issues that impact their daily lives, an individual of poor character thrust into a position of leadership who lacks integrity and accountability and whose vision is only the advancement of their own selfish agenda can through lies and misinformation blind the masses to the truth and in the process withhold the very liberty they seek to maintain  

Unfortunately America today has allowed the  polarization of our country along political lines to supersede the thirst for knowledge. It has become all too easy for many of America’s so called “leaders” to manipulate the masses. To have them bend to their will wrongly believing that these leaders act in their best interest.

The open America protest is one such example. Through a campaign of misinformation and lies leadership at the highest levels has convinced them that the very measures implemented to protect them, is in fact an infringement on their liberty. They use that belief to rally around the very leaders who perpetrate the misinformation to advance their own economic and political agendas.

The dangers of not acquiring the knowledge required to identify the character of one’s leaders is not a new concept. John Adams warned us of it in 1765 when he said;

liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in van, has given them understanding and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to the most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

We should heed his words for it would be foolhardy to believe the concept of America is forever. Lest we forget that the history of world shows our country is but a baby. One that will never get the chance to fully mature unless we cast aside our differences, stop allowing the few to manipulate the many and come to value knowledge needed to educate ourselves on those would be leaders of questionable character.

America’s weak link in our battle against the Coronavirus

In the  movie 300 King Leonidas explained the success of the Spartan army:

We fight as a single, impenetrable unit.  That is the source of our strength. Each Spartan protects the man to his left from thigh to neck with his shield.  A single weak spot and the phalanx shatters.

That is a lesson seemingly lost on many Americans today as we face adversity unlike anything we have seen, the Coronavirus.  Somehow we have managed to politicize a medical pandemic turning it into a political statement.  The decision by many governors to require the use of masks, a scientifically proven way of decreasing your chances even if you are asymptotic of infecting someone else, has become a symbol by many on the right as a sign of government overreach. Shelter in place orders have served as the impetus for groups of heavily armed individuals threatening lawmakers in actions that can only be described as terrorism. Doctors and nurses who are on the front lines saving lives stand in defiance to individuals protesting and refusing to wear masks or socially distance are called traitors. The majority of those protesting appear not to be doing so because they are in need of getting back to work, but because they have never known true oppression they have confused shelter in place orders, designed to slow the spread of the virus and protect American lives, with oppression.  When the reality is it is simply a matter of inconvenience to their daily routine such as going to the bar or getting their morning latte from Starbucks. They believe the sacrifice they are being asked to temporarily endure, for not only their good but the good of their fellow American, is a mission simply too difficult. This is the exact opposite of the United States Army 1st Infantry division, the oldest continuously serving the regular Army, whose motto is:

No Mission Too Difficult. No Sacrifice Too Great. Duty First!

These individuals have no sense of sacrifice or duty they are America’s weak spot and it is because of them that our fight against this virus could shatter.

As troubling as that is more troubling is America’s lack of leadership in both government and business. Government officials and CEOs of big business fight each other to shout the loudest that America must reopen.  They do this without any concern about the safety of the people they tell to return to life as normal. No they do it in hope that it will bolster their re-election chances or increase their business’s profit and they do it without taking any risk themselves. I believe conservative economist Thomas Sowell, whose views I rarely agree with, said it best when he said:

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.

What really is hard to imagine is that a country that envisions itself as the World’s leader and moral compass would allow itself to act in such a selfish manner. Where the lives of their fellow Americans matter less than their own selfish agendas. But here we are

To lead by fear is not leadership

To lead by fear is not leadership. Fear is an illusion used by those who lack the basic traits required to truly be a leader and that illusion can only be maintained for so long.  Because like a small child most people will wake up one day and realize, for one reason or another, that the boogeymen used by the so-called leader to scare them does not really exist and once that illusion is gone so too is the illusion of power that the supposed leader wields.

The real leader has it within them the ability to inspire rather than scare. The capacity to encourage rather than discourage. The vision to show others that change can be a good thing and should not be feared. That we should not look to impeded that which is different but instead seek it out so that we may tear down the walls that divide us and confidently moving forward rather than cowering behind a wall of fear.

The true leader leaves a legacy, one of integrity, intelligence and truth.

WITH NO EVIDENCE AT ALL

They say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and what goes around comes around. 

Ever wonder what  kind of country we would be if we all played by Donald Trump’s rules of engagement and just made stuff up about him?

Not a very good one I suspect. 

Trump’s blatant lies about President Obama are well documented here are just a few that he states WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL:

In 2011 Trump said “somebody” told him Obama might be hiding his birth certificate because it might identify him as a Muslim.  Not that this is a bad thing even if it were true but that’s a discussion for another day  

In 2014 Trump tweeted “Obama sent weapons to ISIS through Benghazi yet holding up shipments to Israel”

In 2015 Trump said “they actually think Obama hates Israel. I think he does”

The clear implication in all of this was that Trump was attempting to portraying Obama as anti-Semitic WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL  

So if we as a country dropped to his level and played in the gutter using Trump’s own rules of engagement would it be wrong to say WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL:

That Trump is German and “somebody” told me he is a believer in Hitler’s master race theory

That Trump is secretly arming white militias around America

That Trump has secretly told white nationalist to prepare for a coming race war and that when it’s over America will be cleansed of it’s black and brown problem and America will be great again.

I’m just wondering because Trump has, with the help of Fox News, been given carte blanche to say whatever he wants about whoever he wants WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL to verify the validity of his statements and smears on a person’s career and character and  yet many in his base take his statements to be true. So why can’t we do the same to him? Oh yeah that really wouldn’t be American now would it?

The truth still counts for something and we should all reject statements made WITH NO EVIDENCE AT ALL

The End of True Debate

I went to Cardinal Spellman high school in the Bronx. In addition to being the alma matter of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor among other things it had a forensics team that competed nationwide.  My senior year I was proud to say I was President of that forensics team. For 4 years I competed on the forensics team’s cross-ex debate team.  To this day I credited my experience on that team as being a major part in the development of who I am today. The rules of cross-ex debate were simple enough if you were on the affirmative side of a debate you needed to show: 

Significance of both the problem and that the benefit must be substantial enough to merit changing state or national policies affecting millions of people. 

Inherency of the the problems cited must be inextricably connected to elements of the status quo are relatively enduring or are unique to the status quo or cannot be eliminated without reform to the status quo.

Plan that includes a concrete description of actions that will be taken to solve the problems cited in enough detail that the negative can understand and, potentially, criticize it.  And finally

Solvency – present claims and ground to prove the benefits of the plan and that is it solves the problems cited.  

If you were on the negative side of the debate you could win by proving through evidence that just one of the above was not true. 

This I learned as a teenager. Sadly in today’s highest chamber of debate, Congress, none of this is practiced. Instead the debates have devolved into a I want, you can’t have, battle based not on facts and evidence and most importantly what’s good for the country but rather special interest and if you have a (D) or a (R) after your name. Adults elected by the populous acting more like children and having temper tantrums when they can’t get their way. 

I’m thankful for the life lessons debate taught me   I just wished the majority in Congress would share in those lessons. 

The State of Government Today…All I Want To Say Is They Don’t Really Care About Us

Sang to the tune of Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us. 

The state of the government today

Republican, Democrat
Everybody gone bad
Build a wall, Shut Down
Everybody dragged down
All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us

CNN, FOX NEWS
Everybody dog food
Bang bang, democracy shot dead
Government gone mad
All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us

I vote every election
Pay my taxes on time
Now I am the victim of government stupidity

Corporations and special interest own them
I’m invisible because they ignore me
Tell me what’s become of my country?
If only Roosevelt was livin’
if only Martin Luther was livin’
They wouldn’t let this be, no, no

All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us

Never Go Full Trump

A conversation sometime in the future between an ex presidential candidate and a campaign strategist. 

Ex Candidate (EC): Just wish I had a campaign manager like this last election

Strategist (S): Last election. Oh yeah. You went all in on that one, huh?  Really swung for the fences, huh?

EC: Thank you I just did the work. In a weird way I had to sort of just free myself up to believe it was okay to be him. 

S: To be Trump

EC: Yeah

S: To be Trumpy

EC: Yeah

S: Like the Trumpiest candidate that ever ran

EC: When I was running for President. 

S: Acting like Trump. Trying to come back from that

EC: In a weird way I had to fool my mind into believing I wasn’t the Donald. 

S: But Trump thought he was a good qualified President so you can’t afford to play Trump being a qualified candidate. Running as a guy who thinks he’s qualified but is so far from qualified, that’s tricky. Hats off for going there especially knowing how the voters are about that now

EC: About what?

S: You’re serious? You don’t know? Everybody knows you never go full Trump 

EC: What do you mean? 

S: Check it out. Richard Nixon, 37th President, look Trump, act Trump, not Trump. Established the EPA and OSHA, ended America’s involvement in the Vietnam war, opened diplomatic relations with The Peoples Republic of China. He had Watergate so crooked sho’. Not Trump. You know Jimmy Carter.’ Below average President yes. Indecisive, maybe. Gas shortages and Iranian hostage crises. But he created the Departments of Energy and Education and negotiated a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. That ain’t Trump. He was a goddamn Noble Peace Prize winner. You know any Trump Noble Prize Winners? You went full Trump man. Never go full Trump. You don’t buy that? Ask Donald, 2020, Presidential Election.  Remember? Went full Trump, went home empty-handed.

The danger within

A country whose citizens:

Turns a blind eye to social injustice, 

Condones immoral behavior from their leaders,

Believes anything that those in power tell them rather than educating themselves.

Allows their government in essence to be run by and to the benefit of the wealthy few.

Need not worry about its enemies because in time it will be destroyed from with-in