Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Leading the Parade (updated)

There are two basic kinds of leader; there is the kind motivated by his own internals who charges ahead and expects everyone to follow, and the kind who looks for a parade to get in front of. I call the first the “Light Brigade” type; “Into the Valley of Death rode the six hundred.”

Barack Obama is the second type, and that is not intended as an insult; it takes courage to get in front of a parade, and it requires leadership to keep a parade organized, moving and going in the right direction. This is the only kind of leader who can get elected in today's political climate, and it is the kind of leader who wins for this nation in the long haul. He doesn’t lead us into the “Valley of Death,” he leads us where we want to go.

The problem with our government does not lie in Washington, and the failure to achieve change is not on Obama himself. Here’s the failure:

We the people are not providing the parade.

Barack Obama told us that in his campaign. “I am not going to change Washington,” he said to us repeatedly. “You are going to change Washington and I am merely going to be your agent.” Again and again he warned us that change would mean work. “If you are ready to go to work
for change,”
he said, “then vote for me.”

We voted for him, and now we are sitting on our hands. That was not the deal; that was not what he promised. Obama made the promise to close Guantanamo, he ordered the closing of Guantanamo and he is being obstructed in that objective. He is not fighting the Republicans on that obstruction or on others; that is not his job, that is our job. He did his part, and we are not doing our part.

If we want these policies implemented then it is our job to remove the blockage. If those who we elected are not governing in accordance with the will of the voter, then it is not Obama’s responsibility to change that governance. It is the voters’ responsibility to either change the way the legislators do their job, or elect new legislators who will be more responsive.

We demand change, and then we keep electing the same people. After 29 years in the Senate as a Republican, a man decides he cannot get reelected in that party, switches parties and is now favored to be reelected to the Senate as a Democrat. Can anything more clearly illustrate the total dysfunctionality of the electorate of this nation?

Insanity; doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Update: Wed, 10:00am in response to a comment.

"Voters have rights. But politicians need to heed the will of voters as well."

Let me see if I can make my point a little more clearly; when they do not heed the will of the voters we need to vote them out, and we do not. We reelect them and complain that "Washington is broken." Voters need to be more concerned about their responsibilities and less concerned about their rights. Politicians have absolutely no need to heed the will of the voters unless the voters express that will and hold the politicians accountable, which they have not done for decades.

I read a day or so ago of a 51-year-old woman in Washington state who, by her own statement, has never been engaged or interested in politics until Sarah Palin came along. Palin captured and excited her, and now she is an activist. This woman has been voting for 33 years with a degree of interest that could only be stimulated by the likes of Sarah Palin, but it is Washington the city that is supposedly broken, not Washington the state.

There is absolutely no logic why a Republican should be leading in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election based on campaign ads claiming falsely that Joe Sestak was "relieved of command" as a three-star Navy Admiral. But he is because Obama and Biden are endorsing that Republican, and the voters are following like sheep. But it is supposedly not the voters that are causing democracy to fail, it is Washington.

The "political elite class" can remain in power only if the electorate massively fails in its responsibility to use its franchise intelligently, which it is doing and has been doing for many years. The failure of democracy is squarely on the shoulders of millions of voters, who honk endlessly about their damned "rights" and overwhelmingly ignore their responsibilities.


  1. bruce9:30 AM

    It also points to a political elite class, which feels entitled to office and works toward that goal. This is not what the Founding Fathers wanted, we fought a revolution against such a thing.

    Voters have rights. But the politicians need to heed the will of the voters as well.

  2. Okay, I meant that as a poke to the politicians, who should know better, and should act accordingly. Some do, many (most?) do not.

    But they are NOT being held accountable, which is the voters responsibility. And yes they (the voters) are failing en masse, which is your point. I know what you meant.

    Voters are often led astray by sound bites, slogans, catch phrases, demagoguery, disinformation, flattery and outright lies (did I not mention simple B.S.?). Anyway, voters ought to be able to see through this or think about what these candidates, perps,
    interests /etc are saying. And vote accordingly.

    And thank you for expounding on that a little more.