Carnes: This is not leadership
This whole, “I know you are but what am I?” approach to leadership was old before it even started.
A childlike response, it has become mainstream on both sides of the political spectrum, but at the top of the blame game pyramid arguably sits the most influential American at this moment in time, and this is what makes the constant infantile response so damaging to America.
But before you start slamming me with whataboutisms (Hillary’s emails, Obama’s existence, Democrats in general, etc.), understand my issue has nothing to do with party affiliation and everything to do with leadership.
As I’ve written many times, I have never voted Republican or Democrat, as my vote is always for an individual, not an ideology.
Leadership is what drives a nation, and although the objective is to always move forward, some leaders stagnate in neutral while others go full speed in reverse.
This is the gear we’ve been stuck in for a few years now.
Those of you chomping at the bit to defend the man I’m obviously questioning, please do, but only if you can point to positive steps forward as a nation without resorting to the aforementioned whataboutisms.
(If possible, turn on Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” before continuing.)
How do you call it leadership when…
- A crowd shouts “Lock her up!… Send her back!… Shoot them!” and the immediate response from the man is a smile that says nothing more than he’s enjoying the adulation?
- The man brags about crowd size while pretending to grieve with El Paso victims or smiling with a thumbs up while posing with an infant whose both parents were just murdered, and his campaign has refused to pay a bill of more than half a million dollars to the city?
- The man still says Mexico will pay for a wall, repeal and replace is still a thing and that his taxes will be released like every other president since Nixon?
- The man promised during his 2016 campaign to not have time to play golf yet now plays more often than any president in modern times?
- We now have our first trillion-dollar deficit, a $22 trillion dollar debt, bankruptcy filings are surging and record American household debt that is $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008?
- The man once again sides with a brutal dictator over his own military leaders because of a “beautiful letter,” still claims trade wars are easy to win while putting American farmers on welfare and insists his violent, racist rhetoric has zero impact on domestic terrorism?
All that in just the last week.
I could continue, as there are enough of these questions to fill an entire year’s worth of Vail Dailys, but the point is simple: True leadership is much more than winning an election.
I can enjoy when one zigs while others zag, but a true leader should never have to constantly remind others that he is the leader while at the same time creating insulting nicknames for perceived enemies and retweeting conspiracy theories about former friends who commit suicide.
True leadership requires integrity and confidence while readily admitting to not knowing something and eagerly searching to learn without using words that foster anger, fear and resentment.
None of the questions above are proper examples of the leadership our nation expects or deserves, and not a single one helps to make America great, whether again or for the first time.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.