Patty Dineen

The view from here

Leadership – If found, please return to the American people

Barack Obama may have been right.  I haven’t heard him say it lately, but early in the campaign I heard him repeatedly say that “we (the public) are the leaders we have been waiting for.”  He didn’t coin the phrase, I’ve heard it before.  But if it’s true, then it doesn’t matter who wins the election.  It’s really up to us anyway. 

And President Bush’s comments today on the economic crisis contained the unmistakable implication that a good part of the present economic trouble is the public’s fault– for being “anxious” and letting our anxiety fuel a vicious cycle that is making it harder for our leaders to help us.

So it’s our fault apparently.  And in the end it probably is the public that will turn this around– we didn’t create the mess, but we may eventually have to work through it ourselves, in spite of what our leaders do, not because of what our leaders do.

Having said that– and I do believe that the public eventually will turn this around– leadership does make a difference.  There’s just no getting around it.  Wise, selfless, and smart leadership could have headed off much of the economic crisis.  George Bush, Alan Greenspan, and others went about their busy days without ever acting like they were serving, let alone leading, the public.  John McCain is doing what he thinks he has to do to keep his party happy, and to make them forget that he once seriously considered changing his party affiliation.  And Barack Obama continues to campaign as an “aggressive pragmatist” — promising everything will change and be alright if we want it to badly enough to not ask for any details about what the change will entail.  It’s a sunny, populist version of a now all-too-familiar “trust me” refrain.  And if he has led us into the “new kind of politics” that he promised at the beginning of his campaign, it sure looks a lot like the old kind these days.

So here we are– our elected officials, our candidates, our public servants are not leading anyone but the mainstream media.  Maybe it’s time to turn to each other for some answers.  Maybe we could be the leaders we are looking for.

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Written by dineenp

October 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm

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