Is it just me, or do others see the lack of leadership at all levels in our community. It appears that due to our inability to dialog and find shared meaning, our culture has declined to the point where we sue, call each other names, make jokes about the other, or make claims that are patently false. Each of these characteristics reflect a leadership we have seen periodically in the past, but has never helped our country move forward. Let me give you some examples.
Boehner and House Republicans have voted to sue the President. The House feels that the President has overstepped his legal authority “setting up a possible constitutional test.” Is this leadership? Is this an attempt to lead our country in a better direction? Although I am not an Obama fan I do agree with his point, “Everybody recognizes this is a political stunt. But worse than that, because every vote they’re taking like that means a vote they’re not taking to actually help you.” I am not a huge Obama fan, and I am disappointed in his inability to lead congress and this country into a better position. But I think this event demonstrates the lack of leadership on both sides of the aisle. This truly is the least productive administration in recent history. Obama and Boehner have not created shared meaning through dialog, they have created a wall that is so thick it will take an incredible effort to tear down. I may not live long enough to see that reality.
Leadership calling people names is as old as the hills. The latest example involves our illustrious IRS. Lois Lerner (when referring to conservative radio hosts and people who call into their shows) sent emails to folks while she was in England (which is really stupid, you never put something like that in writing) describing conservatives as crazies and assholes. I am sure those were the more tame names. This revelation is a part of the ongoing investigation of the IRS for targeting Tea Party and other grass-root conservative organizations in an effort to slow down their request for tax-exempt status. “On Wednesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R, Mich.) released this latest groupings of emails, saying it directly demonstrates Ms. Lerner’s deep animus toward conservatives and shows that her mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives.” Lerner was a leader associated with our country that had chosen to only represent one half of the country. Hmm, doesn’t sound like real leadership to me.
Then there is the latest CEO faux pas. This one came from Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing. Several days ago Mr. McNerney responded to the question of his retirement. He will soon be 65, which is the age that Boeing usually requires a CEO to step down. He stated he was not going to retire because, “The heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering, I’ll be working hard.” Not a very smart statement Mr. McNerney. Now his employees are calling him Mr. McNutty. The Seattle Times ran a story about his apology, and responses from the major unions of Boeing. Tom Buffenbarger, President of the IAM, called McNerney’s comment “unfunny and unnecessary.” And SPEEA published a cartoon depicting a Boeing employee working in a cubicle saying, “If I’m away from my desk, then I must be cowering somewhere. Please leave a note.” McNerney has stated that he was joking about his age and did not mean to slight anyone. Having put my foot in my mouth a few times I can understand, but I think he went over the edge. I am a big believer in what McNerney has done to help the company, but I don’t agree with all of his actions or his comments. His lapse of leadership associated with this comment will taint his remaining years at the helm, and demonstrates that lack of connection with reality.
The last example of poor leadership traits involves California. I love California, I grew up in California, and I have family in California. However, the comments that California has “Comeback,” may be overstated. The state has a 24% poverty rate, a horrible drought, and large numbers of jobless people. So maybe Governor Brown is overstating his accomplishments? Neel Kashkari, who is running for Governor, did an experiment. Over seven days Kashkari “took a Greyhound bus from Los Angelus to Fresno. With only $40 in his pocket (and no credit cards), a back pack, a change of cloths and a toothbrush, he planned to find a job and earn enough money to get by.” Barbara Ehrenreich did something similar and wrote a book about it. “Nickled and Dimed” was an excellent read.
What Mr. Kashkari found out was jobs were hard to come by, people who were out of work and living on the street wanted a job, and there were some good places to get a meal. I am impressed with this gentleman, although I have no idea what his politics are. He slept on park benches and in parking lots. “He walked for hours and hours in search of a job,” which gave him a lot of time to think. Hmm, I wonder how many politicians did something similar? Probably not many.
His conclusion, “Five days into my search, hungry, tired and hot, I asked myself: What would solve my problems? Food stamps? Welfare? An increased minimum wage? No I need a job. Period. I have often said the best social program in the world is a good job.” Hmm, sounds like a good idea.
Having political leaders that are trying to do the best for the people of this country would be good leadership. Having CEO’s that thought about all the stakeholders that they served and not just shareholders, would be good leadership. Instead, we have political leaders that only care about holding on to power., and we have CEO’s that only care about lining their pockets with great amounts of money. The CEO’s decide that Inversion is the way to go, and politicians decide that the people need welfare. Everything is working against people. They are being driven to a life of dependency on the state. Maybe 1984 will occur in 2024. You can’t see me right now, but if you look at Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” you have a sense of what I look like and how I feel.
And that is my thought for the day!