Webster goes so far as to use a reference to a “high office” as a symbol of the term “leadership”. Just mentioning “The Oval Office” is a reference to the act of leadership. Now, it becomes much clearer as to how Clint Eastwood came up with the concept of an “empty chair”. Real leadership is symbolic in every way, the least of which is a reference to a place where a man with no leadership qualities hangs his hat. The fact that an office is symbolic of leadership does not equate to the man occupying it being a leader by association. In fact, the actions of the man define the symbolism of the office. In today’s America, a reference to The Oval Office simply demonstrates the desire to see some leadership.
There are some in the USA who look upon Barack Obama and think they see a leader. They think and believe that because they have an expectation that anyone who is President is a leader. Whatever that person does or says is rooted in their God-Given ability to lead. If the choices that person makes are unpopular then so be it for that is what leadership is about. If the person resists compromise and interaction with others then that is what a leader does if he is going to force others to follow him. Ironically, in this perspective they actually connect the dots between demonstrated strength and leadership while at the same time demanding that our military should in no way demonstrate either strength or resolve for it might offend the world.
One can find many words to describe Barack Obama. Some are printable and some are less than flattering. Obama has been described as a “savior”….a messiah of sorts who is expected to help people rise up and gain their just due. He has been described as a scholar achieving Magna Cum Laude honor status in his college years yet no one has ever really seen any proof of that. He is labeled as a “progressive”….a champion for the little man. He has even held the title of “community organizer”, a rather peaceful, sounding, generic term for a job of manipulation and agitation with the only organizing aspect being that of arousing and highlighting the dissatisfaction of the people. For all the eloquent labels assigned to Barack Obama, one has to wonder how he managed to not earn an Eagle Scout Badge and win the Medal of Honor prior to pursuing his politics.
In that light, it matters little how Obama is described as the description turns out to be as vague as his achievements. Clearly, of all the terms which apply to Obama, “leader” is not one of them. Obama sees himself as a leader mainly because he holds the highest office with the power and authority it is assigned. On that basis, he is the leader. On that basis, he executes his role as a function of power and authority over people and processes with him being the only deciding factor as to the desires of the nation he serves. There is no humility or humbleness in his approach… only his pleasing self-awareness that he is the President and has the power. This symbolic aspect becomes the only real proximity he achieves to actually leading.
Let us get down to what leadership is about. The descriptive terms I like most are “to guide and conduct”; “to show the way”. America in no way requires a leader who is bent on reinventing our country as Obama sees his role as President. It matters little to him that others holding elected office do not share his vision…he will go it alone and he will do it with the authority and power he assumes that his office holds and wait to see who challenges him along the way. These actions are not those of a leader, they are more like the actions of a man who has ceased power and is hell-bent to use it.
Obama cites Congress as the “thorn in his side” when it comes to being effective in his role. Congress collectively becomes the whipping boy for a President bent on justifying his own actions. Obama throws Congress under the bus...Democrats and all when it comes to rationalizing his valiant efforts. Of course there are those who will point and say, “yeah, he’s right. Those damned Republicans. Those hard-nosed Tea Party types who only want to take everything away!” It all plays real well for Obama. One might think about his first two years in office in which Obama had total control across the Congress. That time was spent conjuring up the stimulus plan and healthcare reform. Both were rammed down the throats of the American public. Both were rationalized as “far too complex” for the average American to understand thus there is no explanation. “We simply had to pass the legislation to find out what is in it.”
How naive are we to be to believe that Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is working every angle that he can to undermine the efforts of the President by sidelining legislation? Do you think for one moment that Reid, who mentored to young Obama, would purposely blockade the President? To the contrary, Reid is a most willing comrade and towel-boy for the President. Reid is doing exactly what the President has instructed him to do. Without the Senate, the House has very little room to achieve anything of consequence….like maybe a budget as required by law? The President would like you to believe the Senate does not work because the minority sides of the Senate, the Republicans, are stone-walling. It is all very convenient as the President uses this dysfunctional mess in the Congress to shore up his own powers and rationalize the use of them.
A true leader looks to the will of the people for guidance and vision. A true leader seeks compromise and consensus prior to taking the hard road. People want to follow but they also want to understand. President Obama holds the high office and should be the one taking the initiative to extend the hand of the Presidency and sincerely speak aloud….”I want to work with you for the good of the American people.” Obama is much too far above such a lowly indignity as to reach across the aisle and look for real solutions. Why should he do that when he can more easily sign an Executive Order? For all that we value our voice as citizens of this nation being represented in Washington, our elected representatives influence in the day to day function of the federal government ended the day Barack Hussein Obama took office and it will remain as such for as long as he continues in that role. Obama takes pride in circumventing the established processes of our Democratic Republic.
Leaders don’t huddle in their bunker in the face of international issues. Obama’s foreign policy has one central theme….”apologize first!” Obama feels that we must show strength in the face of our burdensome domestic issues yet when it comes to international affairs, we turn into a nation of spineless people. At present, we are watching a process play out in which Israel will be tossed to the curb and forced to “go it on their own” in terms of survival. Obama has sent that message to Israel’s leaders and to the nations of the region not as much in his spoken words as in his actions toward Israel. Obama sees Israel as he does the USA…a nation of colonists responsible for all that is bad which occurred throughout history. They, like us, must pay for their imperialist sins. Israel will act whether Obama likes it or not. This is the fly in the ointment as Obama is more focused on dilly-dallying in talks with Iran which only buys Iran the time they desire to continue working on their nuclear program. Israel is not going to sit idly by and watch that happen.
Obama came to office on the promise that he would heal the wounds and unite. Thus far, his efforts have gone completely in the other direction. He rationalizes that by blaming it on those across the aisle. The nation has not had a budget since he took office, unemployment has remained high, the economy is lulled into stagnation, government positions have been filled with those who have not been vetted by the people, spending is out of control and continues, the debt is absurdly high and growing by the minute, the government is basically dysfunctional in terms of representing the people. Obama came to office to “fix” things and look at where we are today. Can one see leadership there?
America is devoid of leadership at the highest levels of government. The people see that and the world is beginning to see that fact. In the future, we will see rogue nations begin to become more emboldened by the appreciation of what they have become and what they have developed, much as Japan did leading up to World War II….they will begin to believe what is in their own minds and act on it. Our actions as a nation today are inviting just such a reaction. We only have to look upon the recent dragging of our Libyan Ambassador’s body through the street by angered thugs to realize how quickly this can happen again and again. How many apologies can Mr. Obama offer in the process of seeking a viable solution? Remember, the automatic spending cuts of 2013 are arranged as such that the initial cuts are applied to our military. Our option as a nation to portray a position of strength to the world will soon be eroding. Is this what we, the American people, want for our future?
Our president took an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution against all comers either foreign or domestic. Mr. Obama’s behavior in office lends no arguable substance to his commitment to maintain that oath. Like so many other processes and traditions of the American culture, Mr. Obama elects to consider them beneath the level of his dignity and intellect. If you call that “leadership” then I really hate to see what you might imagine “fundamental transformation” to be.
President Obama might take a page out of history and study Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to discover what the true purpose and intent of leadership might be. Lincoln, facing a nation divided and at war, stood before a small gathered crowd on that blooded battlefield of Gettysburg looking over the bodies of the dead from both sides and with only a handful of sentences poured out his vision that America, though divided, was infinitely bound in values and principles of its founding which had occurred only 87 years prior. That short speech gave Americans a look inside the mind and heart of Abraham Lincoln and allowed them to realize that he was beyond siding with a winner or a loser and cognizant that we were truly one nation, under God, with a destiny to unite again as one to take our rightful place in history. That is what leadership is about and we need to find it again in America.
©Copyright WBrown 2012. All Rights Reserved.