"I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." —Ralph Nader
About 10 of us gathered in a small room at the basement of a nearly-empty Ohio Union at 8:00pm to discuss why we believe in Ralph Nader, and why we believe he should be the next person elected President of the United States.
I don't recall this quote coming up, or very much of the discussion, to be honest. I did remember discussing the negative qualities of large corporations, which I still feel today is a problem, now more than ever. But I'll save that rant for another blog entry. Maybe.
Though Nader lost by over 45% by both of his opponents, it was still a big deal. "Taking votes away from Gore" arguments aside, Ralph Nader was leading people. A lot of people. But what made his leadership different than Bush and Gore was that his ideas inspired a desire for something different. For something to change. Before "Change" was a catch-phrase.
What it did was inspire more people to lead their own pieces of a movement with their own ideas. Which is probably why the Green Party went from about 3% of the total votes that year to about 1% four years later.
Unfortunately the big political machines won, destroying an independent movement of unique ideas. Unique, at least, compared to the polarized opinions of Elephants and Donkeys. The two big parties continued to gather their usual parrots; followers for the sake of being labeled "Democrat" or "Republican"; voting only for the label. Following the leader.
I miss independent thought. I miss leaders who encourage thinking differently. Those are the truly inspiring people. People that make you want to lead, instead of being okay with the way things are when you don't like it. Now we have large corporations donating large sums of money to a cause for someone to be elected into a position that only pays an annual salary that's less than 0.05% of the total it took to win an election.
Honestly, if this post is going anywhere it's this: we need leaders. Not conversational acrobats, not panderers, and certainly not performers. And we need leaders that inspire more leaders.