The hot topic on the news, in debates, and at the dinner table is leadership in Washington. Republicans believe that there is no leadership in the White House and that President Obama is a weak leader. It is campaign time, so any criticism of the President is going to come up eventually. Although, I’m not sure if I agree with their critique of President Obama, I think it’s a little immature.
He is without a doubt a Democrat, he doesn’t hide that, but he isn’t a socialist. His party members say he is too much of a moderate and not dedicated to party principles, and Republicans say he is a socialist that wants us to become a communist nation. You can’t be both here, in fact in some scenarios he does lay in the middle of the political spectrum. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize President Obama as a bipartisan, but I believe he does have a relatively open mind towards Republican ideals. My point is this, even if he was able to round up all the democrats and make them more understanding and willing to work with the other party, we still wouldn’t get the results we seek. The reason for this is because out of the two parties, at all times one is on offense and one is on defense. There is no real discussion or want for bipartisanship in Washington. The demagoguery alone, makes it impossible for any one politician to be considered a great “leader.” And if there is a great leader, he won’t be able to get enough done to justify his leadership qualities because of the senseless rhetoric on both sides of the isle. So it isn’t that President Obama is a bad leader, it’s a case of the system is so flawed that no one can really shine.
The only time you can shine, is during the campaign. You can run based on 100% ideological statements, without explaining to everyone the practical approach you’ll take to an ideological idea. The Republican candidates are in the same boat as President Obama was in during his 2008 campaign. Already, candidates are making promises and promoting plans that aren’t practical and just add to the American people’s frustration.
We finally have an opportunity to win an election by winning the hearts and minds of the people, and we are failing miserably. Our candidates are running on the fact that they will be partisan, that there will be no compromise in there administration, and they’ll “tell” congress to shape up. This is not only a stupid statement, but it’s ideological as well. Once again, we are running on pessimism and not optimism. We are pushing ideological plans, and not practical plans. Every time we do this we lose a little bit more credibility during a period where interest in politics is at an all time low. I believe there is a way out, and a way to avoid this trap again.
Proper Vision and Acceptance of American Exceptionalism
American Exceptionalism is the idea that we are qualitatively different from other countries. It states we are the first nation born out of revolt, and the first nation to embrace liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissez-faire. Less formally known as, America is the best country in the world.
I believe in American Exceptionalism, but I think we need to always work to improve the country. Quite frankly, I’m not sure if we are the best country in the world at this point. We are starting to fall into a free fall of acceptance, and just holding to this idea without putting forth the work for it to be achieved. We have never been a perfect country, and we never will be but there are certain aspects of the country that can and need to be improved. Leadership and American Exceptionalism go hand in hand. It all starts with that Leader’s vision of the country, and where he/she sees the country going in the future. Unfortunately though, that one leader’s vision may not be enough to once again realize the idea of American Exceptionalism.
Our political process needs to be fixed. We urge nations across the globe to embrace and enact democracy. We are not setting a good example of how a democracy should work, so I wouldn’t blame other nations to stay away from a democratic state. The biggest issue is that we can’t work together. Our leaders do not understand the connection between conviction and compromise, they don’t understand how to keep an open mind, and they all embrace bipartisanship without understand what it really means. For instance, let’s say a Democrat provides quality quantitative analysis to a Republican on tax reform. Even if the study is sound, the Republican will not go along with the Democrats policy, because he/she doesn’t have an open mind. They aren’t elected to work against each other, they are elected to work together to solve the problems for their constituents. If we aren’t working on solving the issues together, then there is no point for an elected official. All we will have is a further disconnect between the people and the politicians, a further frustration with inadequate policy, and a dwindling idea of American Exceptionalism.
To improve leadership in Washington, we need to focus on the morals of our politicians. Everything starts and ends with a strong set of morals. Leadership is a function of your personality, your personality is a function of how you were raised, and how you were raised was influenced by a set of fundamentals and morals. Obviously we can’t track this type of information, but my point is that leadership doesn’t start when you win a majority of the vote. It starts in your youth, and it develops at the same rate as your personality does throughout your life. So I just wish that we had leaders that understood this, I’m not asking you to be a great speech maker and an ideological reformer. I’m asking you to be a good person, and do what you know is best for your country.
Connection to the Constituents
I think a man/woman can be judged by the way they treat all people. You should treat a janitor with the same amount of respect as you treat the CEO of a fortune 500 company. During campaign time, politicians walk around shaking hands, kissing babies, and preaching the truth. Something changes though, once they are elected they stop doing that and they start ignoring the wants and needs of their constituents. This is why people don’t care anymore, there is such a disconnect between campaign candidate and elected candidate.
Politicians are also setting a bad example for their constituents. In Washington, there is no connection between all members of the house and senate. There is only bickering, sneering, and slander. If all of the officials could make an effort to continually come together for the benefit of the country, then we set an example for the nation’s constituents to come together. If we stop worrying about XYZ congressional district and start worrying about the well being of the country as a whole, then I can guarantee you that you’ll see more effective policy being implemented. We need a leader to point out the fact that the population is all connected. The rich and the poor are connected more than they think. Republican economic policy and democratic social policy are two sides of the equation. The right fit of numbers and variables will solve both issues. Showing this type of bipartisanship, and explaining and showing the benefit of the results to the nation will build trust again. The trust will add a renewed sense of pride, and people of all economic conditions will once again feel connected to their country. This type of change will make leaders of us all, because we all recognized the problem and worked together to get the job done. This is how conviction and compromise are related. The ability to compromise isn’t the weakness of a leader, it’s their biggest strength.
Moving forward, we have to work together to highlight what it is we are looking for in our elected officials. The only way we are going to solve the big issues, is by coming together to solve the problem. It’s that simple, it needs to be done in Washington but we need to work on the issue as well. President Obama’s leadership qualities aren’t subpar, but he is just a result of the system that perpetually lets us down. I hope that the Republican that wins the primary understands leadership, and understands that he needs to fix a flawed system. Doing so will allow both parties to come together to implement policy that will bring back American Exceptionalism for a long time.