Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

Male leaders who proclaim women are too emotional to be fit leaders are beginning to show that they, too, have emotions that sometimes get out of control.

Forget the womanizing group for now and focus on the incident during President Barack Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress. Congressman Joe Wilson (Rep. S.C.) openly admits that “I let my emotions get the best of me” when he shouted out “You lie!” to Obama’s comments on illegal immigrant health care.

Wilson at least recognizes human nature for what it is and does not claim male superiority over female emotions. This is not to say he was right to shout out at the president. What Wilson knows and admits is that he is actually a human being with all the weaknesses and faults of the species.

The curious thing about Wilson’s outburst is the telephone call to his wife after the incident. Roger Simon reported in Politico that Wilson’s wife asked, “Who’s the nut that hollered out?” When Wilson told her he was the “nut” she did not believe him. His wife’s lack of belief indicates it was an out-of-character moment for Wilson, but that is not something you will find in the media reports.

So far the dominant accusation has been that Wilson is a racist. President Obama disputes that judgment by saying he sees it as representative of the “coarsening of our political dialogue.” Who can say with accuracy what prompted Wilson to shout out at a U.S. President during a speech? Obama is more than likely correct that it is simply another example of the road America is now traveling.

There is another road and that is the one that our founding fathers would be traveling if they were here today. The founders certainly were not perfect by any means, and they had their share of womanizing members. However, they knew what the needs of a struggling young country are and set out to put aside personal disputes to achieve the perfection they sought in creating such a country.

No, America is not young any more. But we continue to struggle. We still have personal and political disputes. We still have racists, sexists, and intolerant people in some areas.

(Note: There were no women overtly involved in this country’s creation because they were kept behind the scenes. If women had been allowed representation as the other half of humanity, it is likely that the unaddressed issues of slavery, Native American oppression, and women’s rights would have been openly and energetically confronted even if not totally resolved.)

What we do not have, yet desperately need, are Real Leaders who, like the founders, put aside their personal differences to achieve the best for our people. These forefathers had experienced tyranny and repression under Britain. They knew that dividing people into factions of “us” and “them” never achieves a unified political foundation to withstand the future onslaught of miscreants.

Daily we hear horror stories about global warming. Where is the same concern about the political hothouse this country is living inside? Perhaps there are scientific ways to stop the global warming but the only way to put a halt to a political hothouse is by seeking out Real Leaders.

Real Leaders are not easily found in a world that gives respect and admiration to greedy and unethical practices in business and politics. If we have any Real Leaders, they are in hiding or reluctant to speak out in the hostile climate we live in.

What are Real Leaders?

Real Leaders know it is impossible to make everyone happy without lying.

Real Leaders have the capacity for self-doubt and humility, knowing these attributes will help keep them on track in times of trouble.

Real Leaders take their chances in the marketplace of ideas without threats of punishment and without attempting to control the process.

Real Leaders acknowledge mistakes openly and regretfully, and then set out to correct them and move on.

Real Leaders are what this country needs now.