When the people lead, the leaders will follow; time to lead, people (letter)
February 17, 2018
Editor: Thank you for printing the wide variety of opinions regarding our current administration. After all these years, we continue to fear calling out our elected officials' bad behavior if we happen to agree with their positions. It appears people are becoming so invested in their viewpoint that they are blind to whenever these officials lie, hurl blanket insults at entire groups of people or appear clueless.
Are we really so afraid of being wrong? Do we really think that the wrongs committed by people we oppose are never committed by those with whom we agree? Do we really think that people on only our side of an issue have a corner on the decency market?
We need to free ourselves up to question unacceptable behavior, whether we agree with a person's position on the issues or not. As a matter of fact, we should be particularly upset when we do agree with their views because that unacceptable behavior devalues our views. It seems some people think the opposite is true, that unacceptable behavior is OK, so long as their political position is being advanced. If we want to have a country, versus a bunch of bickering ideologues, nothing could be further from the truth.
If we want to have a country, to honor and continue this incredible experiment called the United States of America, it's time to get fed up with the liars and cheaters, whether we agree with their policy positions or not.
Why should we have to vote for such people to get our agenda advanced? We don't behave like that, so we know it's not impossible for someone to agree with us and behave acceptably. We need to tell our respective parties to take this tack or take a hike. Can't we skip the political correctness and avoid being jerks? How about just being honest in a constructive way? No one has that skill anymore?
A president is not just someone who signs off on stuff that we either like or dislike. A president is someone who we should be able to hold to a higher standard — our country deserves no less. We have always needed a president to show leadership, whether it's stopping whatever they're doing the instant a disaster happens to share in the heartbreak people feel across the country for those affected or figuring out how to keep the government from shutting down. Whether it's doing the extensive research and careful thinking needed to create good policy or serving as a role model for our kids.
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Do we want our kids to grow up filled with hate, doubt, anger and fear? Of course not. So why tolerate presidents who traffic in those emotions in adults?
How about demanding that our politicians have convictions born of careful consideration — and that we can count on those convictions? No saying one thing one day and then out of the blue coming up with something different a few days later.
How about expecting them to welcome scrutiny because they have nothing to hide? How about expecting them to take nuclear war seriously? Why should we tolerate insults to our intelligence when they campaign? How about a president who speaks to the entire country, versus alienating half of us on a regular basis, a president who sees all of us a part of a team?
Presidents who do not understand or care about all this are not going to unite our country, not going to make it great and may even destroy it. Ghandi said that when the people lead, the leaders will follow. Time to lead, people.
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