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The Present Nature of Leadership

Sunrise at Kolob Canyons
Sunrise at Kolob Canyons
Danny M. Vaughn, Ph.D., CMS

Propaganda: A carefully choreographed plan by those in control (a minority) to persuade those who follow (a majority) that everything is being done for the good and welfare of the masses, and all of the wrongs that have been committed will ultimately make everything right. Before you plunge headfirst into any poll consider this: The U.S. population is approximately 318,300,000. Even the most robust of statistical samples only measures a few 1,000 opinions. Polls rarely report the geographic distribution of the sample, averages are only measures of central tendency, and all racial, religious, and cultural folks are rarely equally sampled. While prognosticators live and die by polls, the statistics represent a diluted sample of the true nature of this country’s views. If we fail to recognize right from wrong, truth from lies; then we become slaves to our ignorance and the controlling factions seeking our approval. When your sense of judgment is clouded by an inability to properly evaluate an issue due to lies, deception, and misdirected ideals, uncertainty and insecurity replaces confidence.

A contemporary definition of politics: The deceptive practice of asserting one’s position regardless of whether it is factually true for personal gain; or generally directed for the good and welfare of big businesses, lobbyists, and Wall Street so that their money can support another reelection to office so as to continue the practice of disingenuous behavior against the American majority. I find it curious that elected officials, for example, representatives and senators are by the very nature of their positions attached to a political party (even independents have to ultimately align with one of the two political factions; Democrat or Republican in order to vote); yet they too often argue that one side or the other is ‘playing politics.’ How stupid to they think citizens are when, in fact, practically everything politicians do and every issue they argue is political!

If you really think about it, compromise is destined to fail whenever we place personal constrains upon ourselves or upon any given group of people. Narrowly focused ideologies, such as what are asserted by political parties, by their very definition, diminish a rational path toward achieving conflict resolution. They build rigid fences around their philosophical, religious, and political parameters, and decry everyone who is not for them is personally against them. Wars are an ultimate result of our inability to reconcile these differences in a rational, civilized manner. There is nothing ‘civil’ about war. Violent behavior on the battlefield is often an extension of political incorrectness exhibited within the chambers of a governing body, corporate group, or any assembly of people that too often cannot get past their own personal ambitions and historical arguments that have long since become indefensible. We have in many ways sadly become a culture possessing myopic vision exhibited in narrow minded philosophies, political posturing, and religious biases. Indeed, independent thinking also has its limits as well, generally within the parameters of indecisive, center-focused moral fortitude; but simply remaining totally committed to the confines of any single-minded position without searching for and examining all available options to a solution is as mindless as a tree attempting to survive the fury of a tornado without bending. It strikes me as a bit insane, arrogant, and most certainly destructive why anyone or group would limit their ability to measure the merits of information solely based on their selfish, self-centered, self-serving, self-imposed biases. This behavior is unbecoming of a modern civil society and fails the most basic of human traits- exhibiting and practicing civilized social graces.

Throughout my life and career I have been constantly reminded that success all too often breeds contempt from leadership and even colleagues that are actually incompetent, insecure, and/or threatened by anyone who has even one cell in their body that demonstrates creative and progressive thought extrapolated beyond the limiting self-righteous dogma of the status quo. I am also reminded of a little recognized quote – “Great men are usually destroyed by those who are jealous of them” from a Sioux nation wise man. Disagree, but do it with respect and dignity; yet this does not appear to be the message too many in positions of leadership are sending to the citizens of this country, and by extension, the world community. I hear too many troubling vocalizations that are vitriolic, rude, disrespectful, and downright ignorant sound bites that are not well-defended by facts, and only focus on partial truths without disclosing the full nature of an argument or issue. The present United States congress is a prime example of a collective group of elected representatives and congresspersons that are more driven by lobbyists, Wall Street, big banks, and folks with too much money and individual influence in the matters that affect this countries majority. The actions/inactions of our elected and appointed leadership (e.g. congress, Supreme Court justices) provide a clear example of managed and manipulated puppets that are more concerned for their own personal wealth and reelection in what has become too lucrative a career with very little progress for those they have pledged to serve. They continue to illuminate their inability to sit down and come to agreements necessary to move this country forward. If ever there was a strong argument for term limits, the failure of the present leadership in Washington should become apparent to any citizen who cares about this country, and not just their own personal or local agenda. An inability to compromise to advance an issue is a failure on both sides. If the tide of leadership in this country is to be redirected for the good and welfare of its citizens, then the majority of citizens will need to become proactive, better informed, more objective, and willing to acknowledge that simply voting for our local “good ole’ boys/girls’ will not resolve this nation’s critical issues. It is past time for the citizens to come together, not as a local community, but as a nation united.

No ideology; yours, mine, the Popes, Buddha, or any politicians can assert a lease dictating what are ‘proper’ affairs of a world society; and it is arrogant, narrow minded, and ultimately flawed to think any single philosophy or controlling entity (religious, political, or societal) can prevail. All we can do is continue to communicate in as honest and forthright manner as our intellect will allow; recognize that no one governing or religious body has ever got it completely right, nor will it probably ever happen; but we should at least continue to try to improve with grace and humility, and not by reacting to sound bites, partial truths, and one sided rhetoric. Kindness, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, respect, honesty, integrity, truthfulness, and responsibility – These behavioral traits are developed as we begin to realize that the journey of one’s life possesses value only when our contributions are reinforced by the manner in which we practice these qualities. They are just words right – or are they the fabric that binds the human element together and distinguishes us as an intelligent, rational species? The only true role model is your conscience, grounded by the fundamental lessons of social graces that you should have been taught as a child. Relying on present societal standards as your moral compass is clearly a bit misguided.

When in the course of human evolution did we decide what is best for the planet; and who/what gave us permission to take these actions? We teach our children social graces, yet most people would rather ask forgiveness rather than ask permission. Once the threshold of stability is exceeded, forgiveness will go by the way of extinction.

The Patriot – is dedicated to a country to which one lives, and will fight for the rights of its people; but a patriot will also stand up against false pretenses. To do anything less dishonors the true patriots who recognize we are a family of immigrants that share the common values of respect for the Earth and all its inhabitants in keeping with the ways of the native Americans – this countries original patriots.

• If, we cannot recognize there are people in this country that are not able to sustain themselves without some measure of assistance, and find a way to assist them,
• If, we are so self-centered to not recognize that this nation’s issues are everyone’s issues,
• If, we are of the opinion that we only have concerns for a particular political district,
• If, we only support someone who is a part of our social, economic, cultural, religious or other biased group,
• If, we are Hell bent in always fighting a cause to support only ‘our constituents,’ for political gain,
• If, we are angered by anyone attempting to illuminate an alternative view, opinion, or argument without allowing them a respectable audience,
• If, we cannot or will not take the time to critically examine the facts, and full measures of this countries issues,
• If, we only vote a particular political party,
• If, we are only inclined to vote in Presidential elections,
• If, our view as voting citizens is to continue to allow politicians in positions of leadership to continue to sustain their representation in the House, Senate, Supreme Court, or any elected office as a lifetime career, regardless of whether they are truly accomplishing ‘the people’s business,’

Then, I humbly assert, are we truly a united population dedicated to the principles outlined by the founding fathers, fought through a Revolutionary War, sustained throughout over two centuries of progress, yet presently held hostage by ideologues that cannot seem to accept the basic principle of ‘compromise?’ The irony is many in Congress are formally trained attorneys who should understand that a very basic principle of law is ‘conflict resolution,’ which by extension is COMPROMISE!

If we are unable to recognize these stress points and continue on as in the past, then are we truly a ‘united’ States, or just united by physical boundaries nested by the political gerrymandering that has divided the people of this nation into factions that do not have as its primary goal, ‘for the good and welfare of all its citizens?’