There’s nothing really wrong with the grassroots political energy of the US. There’s no end to righteous, good-meaning people. No limit on strong enduring will to seek an answer.
All we’re missing is leaders.
You read poll after poll where the majority, sometimes the overwhelming majority, of Americans want the right thing, the sane thing, and the moral thing – less guns, more educational institutions, reduced militarism, and affordable healthcare for all. Poll after poll, with all kinds of people, everywhere. And what do our “leaders” do? They look at them, sniff, decide in their own incalculable logic on whether that means the country thinks the leaders are permitted whatever THEY want, and thus go on doing whatever their egos and power-seeking tells them to do.
“Will of the people” to them seems to translate into “only if it gets me re-elected, a better contract, a higher audience rating.”
It’s sickening, it’s treasonous to the founding principles of this country, it’s a face-slamming insult to the very definition of “democratic republic”. The people who have been enshrined by law, popular support, monetary wealth, and civic duty to be our leaders have profaned that responsibility to whore it out for their own good and future success.
What would a real American leader do? Would he, like Davy Crockett, stand up in the US Senate for the rights of Native Americans even if it costs him his seat, his reputation, his hero standing? Would he, like RFK, walk proud and unafraid into the valley of death with nothing but his virtue and his love of humanity to shield him? I see no Davy Crocketts or RFKs in America today.
Or would he be a man whose only consideration on choice of actions is whether or not he can win it? Not worry that it will cost him popularity, money, his future in politics/media/finance/sports/academia, but that it’s the right thing to do for his country and his soul, his countrymen and his religion. Not just for the win, the bragging rights, the ego boost, “a victory for the party”.
For the last several decades I’ve seen precious few people act as selfless leaders in America. We’ve had “leaders” in name only, who have done little to counter the overwhelming number of bad and damaging political things done to our nation.
A leader speaks up for the many who feel they can’t, or feel inadequate about doing so. A leader champions the righteous thoughts of those who have been going along with the crowd uneasily but know it’s not the right path to be following. A leader challenges his own peers, on both sides of the issue, whenever he knows, and they know, the status quo is wrong.
A leader speaks for the voiceless, the timid, the uncertain, the ones who need to be reassured, ” yes, what you feel to be right IS right, and I believe it too”. A leader knows unless he is willing to sacrifice himself to do what’s right, he is an empty vessel of noise and pride, worth nothing.
America needs real leaders. There are many people right now, in positions of political power, cultural influence, media exposure, financial clout, that have for too long sat back, with all the trappings of leadership but one: they have not spoken up, fought on, pushed to the limit.
They could. They could throttle the strident divisive unpatriotic groups and saboteurs like the Koch Brothers, NRA, Tea Party, elitist members of the Republican Party, militias, radical leftists, propagandists and troublemaking organizations of all kinds – groups we know, that a majority of Americans know, are just plain wrong and need to be discredited, hounded out of office, pushed out of power.
Here is what a leader does.
I never was a fan of Joe Scarborough. I still am not one today. He is a stolid conservative with many ideas on government I strongly disagree with. But last week he decided to quit being just a TV celebrity and speaker of conservative ideals and become a leader.
It’s not because he has changed his stance on gun laws in the wake of Newton. The best way to illustrate this is to recount his dialog with a guest who was backing the NRA hard line. Scarborough asked if the guest was in favor of people keeping guns for self-protection. The guest replied yes. Scarborough agreed, that women living alone in less secure rural areas should and ought to own guns. Then he asked the guest how many of these women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, when getting a gun for their personal protection, chose a semi-automatic Bushmaster. The guest had no answer, so Joe answered for him: “None.”
That is not the point of leadership, though it proved that a man who knows the opposition well can beat it at its own game. What proved it was later, as Scarborough related that every one of his gun-owning friends and family later told him, “I’m glad you said that. Because I believe it too but never told anyone.”
Leaders lead by speaking up, by listening to the will of the people, by challenging – and sometimes losing – to the unjust forces they fight. By speaking FOR THE PEOPLE.
Maybe now we’re seeing some of America’s “leaders” actually doing their jobs.