October 14, 2008

The National Leadership Deficit

In an effort to pander to people calling themselves evangelical, or otherwise "Christian", I've discovered something thick within both Democratic and Republican circles: the desire to appear that G-d comes first for them as politicians. I can appreciate the idea that people put G-d first, especially if one is truly religious, regardless of religion. That's a quality that I admire in priests, imams, ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders. However, that is not a quality I admire in politicians. Politicians are elected to lead us as citizens, participants in our grand political system, and provide workable solutions to problems which confront us, without causing too many more.

If we seek a country with morals, we need look to ourselves and spiritual leaders, not to our political leaders, as too often we find that the people who talk the talk can't walk the walk. What does this say about them? They don't believe what they say, be it that they were in a "weak" moment (or ten) or a scandal. This is the issue which has poisoned American politics for the past 20 years... each side is trying to portray itself as holier than the other, when really neither is too holy to begin with.

It seems to me the people who best embody the ideals that the American public seems to want are those who don't wear it on their sleeves. Whether I can objectively prove this remains to be seen, although certainly a search of speeches and news items will likely yield a quick answer.

What is the underlying psychology for voting for these people? Many know at heart that these politicians are corrupt and can be proven to not be the holier-than-thou sort. Why do others keep buying into it? Do we have some sort of off-kilter sense of right and wrong when it comes to our politicians? These people who we elect regularly want to enforce sections of Leviticus, but ignore the pleas of the Psalmist to comfort the widow, care for the orphan, not defraud the poor. Does this not seem right to anyone else? It seems to me that it's a very narrow-minded holier-than-thou attitude, one which places obeying ritual laws of thousands of years ago over obeying those of ethical laws.

Now we are at a point of loggerheads: the people who have failed to lead because of their perceived desire to serve G-d over their citizen are confronted with the failures of the leadership. We have at best hobbled infrastructure, the consequences of allowing unregulated forms of investment, and people looking at our future more with more discouraged outlooks than we have had in recent memory. And why?

We have politicians whose concern is to maintain power, rather than wield it effectively and for good. The national leadership deficit, directed both at both parties, is crippling our country. We need leaders now more than ever to repair the mess that non-leadership have created.

-rl

1 comment:

redhorse said...

Well said.