Joe D’Andrea: Leadership in America in peril
Brian Hamilton’s Nov. 15 column, “Stop with the party line; start thinking for yourself,” struck a chord.
I am writing this as a former Marine, because Marines know as do all of us with prior military service no matter the branch, you work together, cooperatively to accomplish a mission, you do this for the good of the order, you do this for each other, you listen to the others on your team or in your unit, because several heads are often better than one.
Well, this philosophy is 180 degrees from the way our congressional legislators operate today.
Don’t cross a party line, don’t be caught listening to the other side, hence you are sleeping and/or conspiring with the enemy, and your political future or career will be over! Don’t think for yourself, simply follow the party bosses and blindly back what the Executive Branch says (as long as the Commander in Chief is from your party).
And how is this different from a dictatorship again, communist or otherwise? Tell me and we’ll both know.
Ronald Reagan spoke of America as a “shining city on the hill” the last, best hope for the world. I’m afraid we are not even close to that shining city on a hill any longer because there is no commitment to working with the other side to get anything accomplished for the whole nation, for the good of the order.
On the federal level, we are mired in trench warfare stalemated, frozen, immobile, because minorities of moneyed special interests are driving the agenda. And the philosophy is “I have mine, oh and I could use a little more, perhaps at the expense of the rest of the nation, but oh well.” That would be the same as a platoon/unit commander saying to his or her subordinates, “I am in the chow line first, I have my sleeping quarters taken care of first, all of my needs are met, the rest of you figure it out for yourselves!” You just do not do that as a leader! Responsible leaders take care of their people, (constituents) first.
I think the golden age of America was from 1945 to maybe 1992, perhaps because so many of our congressional House and Senate members along with White House occupants were World War II/Korean War veterans who had that warrior/military ethic of looking out for each other, sacrifice, compromise, taking care of your team, the whole team, and you did it because it was in the best interest for everyone. We don’t have many of these types of people in government service today. We do not have a majority of legislators who have faced real life and death adversity where working together determined whether you would survive or not — where you are willing to give because it is the right thing to do.
That’s the kind of leadership you need to maintain a shining city on the hill. On a political level, and generally speaking, leadership by example is a lost art in America today.
I fear for this nation, for this world, if America succumbs to a position of second or third class leadership capability. How can you effectively lead in the world when your own house is in total disarray and you can’t even get along with yourselves, let alone try to broker peaceful compromises among other nations? That is the height of hypocrisy. Don’t think others don’t see that.
This government is in disarray, with no clear unified vision. Most federal legislators are not thinking for themselves, only thinking from the perspective of party line, big business, or worse the lobbyist crowd.
My analogy is this, currently America is like a sail boat out on the ocean. The good news is the boat is still floating. The bad news is, someone has unhooked the mainsail from the boom, and the mainsail is flopping wildly in the wind, consequently the boat is floating aimlessly with no clear direction and at the whim of where the wind and prevailing currents want to take it. A prescription for national or world leadership? I think not.
If you don’t think our friends and allies see and feel this dysfunction think again. They listen, observe and probably think, “we sure hope someone reattaches the main sail to the boom!”
Joe D’Andrea lives in Penn Valley.
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