We often believe exactly what we want to believe, confusing ignorance with freedom and knowledge with subjugation. Yet the truth remains that blindly following someone or something because you want it to be true does not make it true, or as Mr. Spock so eloquently stated; Insufficient facts always invite danger.
A true leader does not pander to the fears of the masses; they do not make decisions that are counter to that which is beneficial to society just so that they can maintain their power, they do not possess an ego that prohibits them from listening to and accepting the advice from those more knowledgeable than themselves, they aren’t afraid to look those they lead in the eye and tell them the truth, even if that isn’t what they want to hear, they aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and do the hard work necessary to better the lives of society at large.
Unfortunately, these leaders are in short supply today. Lies, corruption, misinformation are the traits of many of today’s leaders. They are more anxious to spew out the viral soundbite than legislating. They are concerned with only whatever it takes to advance their power. These men and women are not leaders; they are frauds. They have built their power on sand, and when the rain falls, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and history has shown us it will, they will fall, along with those who foolishly follow them and great the fall will be.
It is far easier to hide behind lies and cry that you are being targeted by conspiracies, the deep state, fake news, etc., than it is to roll up your sleeves, immerse yourself in your job, and obtain the knowledge needed to govern correctly. Unfortunately, Americans have a President who has chosen the easy path. As a result, 160,000 Americans have died, hundreds of thousands more have fallen ill, and millions have been laid off because of the COVID 19 virus. You would have been hard-pressed to believe four years ago that America would be so unprepared for this national health emergency. Still, it would have been almost unbelievable that since this pandemic exploded in the six months, there has not even been an effort to establish a national plan devised to combat it. Instead, we have a President willing not to give this the urgency it requires to bolster his re-election.
His dismissal of science and narcissistic belief in himself and his abilities fuel a delusional arrogance. He has consciously separated himself from the pain, and suffering Americans are suffering through. His unwillingness to accept feedback from medical professionals is nothing short of governmental malfeasance. Sadly, his mishandling of the COVID 19 pandemic is not where it stops with this President. There are so many aspects of his morally repugnant failed presidency that I could write about for days. Still, his fanning the flames of racism, his blatant disrespect for cultures, races, ethnic groups, religious groups, genders, and anything that looks, acts, and sound different from him is the most shameful of his actions as President of a country which has been built on its diversity. It should disqualify him from the prominent seat he holds today, as you cannot govern, reach, motivate, or lead the diverse people of this country if you can’t relate to their needs.
In addition to all these failures, his continual need to suppress freedom of speech by lashing out at a press that holds his words and actions accountable is unconscionable at best and un-American at worst. Individuals as far back as the founding fathers understood this when they saw the press be protected, understanding that when we allow any individual to undermine the media’s integrity to bolster their agenda purposely, we risk losing our democracy to the hands of tyranny, Americans have a right to expect more. We have allowed specific cable news networks to profit by echoing and spreading his lies and misinformation. They are dictating the mindset of a segment of society. COVID-19 is nothing but the flu; COVID-19 is a hoax, there is no need to wear a mask, Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization looking to destroy our way of life, etc. In the Matrix, the Merovingian asked; Do you know why? It is a question that can be asked of much of his base. Do you know why you believe COVID-19 is a hoax? Why wearing a mask is unnecessary? Why Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization? They would likely answer because they just know it or their constitutional right not to wear a mask. But as the Merovingian said, they think they know, or they believe it is their constitutional right, but they do not know. They think and do these things because they were told to believe and do so. Trump told them to, and FOX news repeated it, and they obeyed. They turn a blind eye to the truth, presidential incompetence, and even some of their own core beliefs because they have been told to.
But on November 3, 2020, we as Americans can begin to put a stop to this self-destructive behavior by remembering it not politicians who were meant to govern this country. It is not a news network that is intended to make our decisions for us. It is the will of the people, and the people face real issues and need real leaders with real answers working together to solve those issues. We as Americans can no longer allow the ego of one man to destroy our democracy from with-in. We can no longer allow one man to destroy our worldwide reputation as a world leader. We as Americans cannot afford to support failure just to proclaim “our” side won because our blind support for anyone almost ensures that in the end, we all lose.
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 its leaders’ real character and use that knowledge to hold them to a standard of accountability that is high, if not higher than they would have 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 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 our country’s polarization 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 many have been led to believe that the very measures implemented to protect them are an infringement on their liberty. They rally around the same leaders who perpetrate the misinformation to advance their own economic and political agendas.
The dangers of not acquiring the knowledge required to identify one’s leaders’ character 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. Still, 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 the 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.