The Loss of Leadership

At some point, and I’ve finally started to see it, the lack of credible leadership has to be addressed.

Donald Trump is not the answer.

If this country is rotting from the inside it is due to a failure to understand the importance of leadership, of the craft of inspiration, of the need to recognize that the greater good is always longed for by the majority of the populace. By focusing on deeply partisan issues, framing them either explicitly or implicitly on race or gender or political persuasion, and packing legislatures through gerrymandering we have created a toxic vacuum that is filled by apparatchiks whose party affiliations are more important than the health and vitality of the nation. The geriatrics running our two main political parties seem convinced that the answer is more of the same, even thought it is apparent that more of the same will not stem our sclerotic fall.

Some of this is a byproduct of the changes in the world and the nature of globalization and its inexorable march to a transnational economy run, more or less, by a combination of corporations and state run enterprises- think China. That we expend our national conversations on everything but this aside from questionably effective tariffs is indicative of our lack of understanding concerning the extent of globalization.

But that is simply one instance.

The bigger problem is whether we can actually produce leadership that will appeal to a wide swath of the American population given the divisions and rhetoric that have hardened over the last four decades. Trump may speak for and personify the discontent of many over the cultural changes occurring in what we classify as Western civilization, but he is not, in any way shape or form, able to communicate that to anyone outside that discontent-nor does he seem interested in the work it would take to make that case! The ossification of leadership in both the Republican and Democratic parties has not produced the next class of leaders, as of yet, though the turbulence of Trump’s presidency may change that, but I’m not holding my breath.

The question, inevitably, centers on the idea and elasticity of the American ideal. Our best presidents and leaders utilized the ambiguity and promise to generate widespread unanimity or desire for the country as a whole versus what we have today, which are pockets and areas of fragmented and unaligned visions of America is, or was, or should be-in equal partnership with arguments that have no common rules or understanding other than to shout as loud as you can and ignore whomever you are arguing with. The obvious answer to our problems is an effective and vibrant communicator-one with a true functioning knowledge based constitution-willing to make that his or her focus and to remain committed to a vigorous effort to allow the average American from all walks of life a measure of inclusion, beyond mere symbolism, to be heard.

The question becomes are we creating or training the leaders of tomorrow or not? Perhaps that will be the defining characteristic of those young people gathering themselves today.

©2018 David William Pearce

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