Better defining 'leadership'

October 25, 2013 

LEAD-ER-SHIP (noun): the action of leading a group of people or an organization.

Let's dispense with Merriam Webster's robotic, dismissive passages for the moment and view something from a different author's perspective.

Lead-er-ship (noun): the exhibition of courage and skill to earn the respect and support of those who do not share the leader's philosophy along with those who do.

There have been only a handful of American presidents, House speakers, and senators since the Civil War who possessed this quality. They are: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Note the balance: three Republicans and three Democrats. The first two Republicans were elected before the Democrats came to their senses; the last one was elected before the Republicans lost theirs.

Until political divisiveness, propaganda, intolerance, greed, deliberate misinformation, and deliberate dissuasion of education are chucked back into America's sordid past where they belong, the gridlock will continue, unchecked and unabated. I can only suggest to those who most loudly complain about how dysfunctional America has become that they step up to the plate and take the time and energy to learn their history. Only then will they have answers to America's problems.

At this point in time, America possesses very little leadership in any of the three branches of the federal government on either side of the political aisle. Ending the gridlock in Washington will take more than empty rhetoric, scare tactics, or brute political force; it will take true leadership.

Richard Yesley

New Athens

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