On Leadership and Being Led
Monday, 09 December 2013 23:22

Those of us who are bi-cultural - that is, those who take a visceral interest in the social and politicol fabric of both the United States and Canada, see no way forward with viable, let alone inspirational leadership. This is not to say that we merely represent yet a few more pulses in the mass of resigned (or unproductively, habitually angry) protoplasm that defines our geographic populations. On the contray. Both the functional and the best minds around are worried sick, and they, we have historic and current evidence that much concern is warranted.

We are non-participatory citizens in societies and economies that are in trouble. Uncertainty is at hts highest point since the months after the crash of 1929. The political landscapes - those we all share on this tiny planet - are wastelands waiting for someone with a secondary school vocabulary, a weak B.A., acceptable teeth, good hair and a tan (and male) to convince us that someone has arrived to help us get back on our contextual feet. Rudderless and without a workable national self-definition, we are downward looking in our quotidient movements, our slow-motion scrambles to stay afloat or to re-earn a place on a small, increasingly privileged and unreachable boat.

As such we are a danger to ourselves and others. In that our disappointment (in ourselves, in life, in our governments, our non-leaders and more) is vitiating of the spirit, unanalytic and passive, we are dangerously easy to seduce.Whether it is an imperial, lazy and indifferent Obama (who scared many of us by handing out unreasonable expectations on day one), Harper, who thrives on silence and redaction, or the Canadian school teacher who, with a neuron-twitching name and good hair currently wooing middle aged woman across our northern tundra, there are no expectations (but more of the same) at all. Our attention and curiosity are evoked by uglier elements now and even these quick peeps are just that. A `looking up and around`, a quick `tsk`` and a re-lowering of our heavy heads.

We are now perfect followers, sliders if you will. To be led, is something else. It is to participate in some way in weighing the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate bargaining with us for influence and power. It is taking measure, being forward looking and, frankly, caring. A concerned, caring population can be led but not suckered. It demands of leadership and stands ready to use measures to replace it if it becomes unresponsive. Lastly, a population ready for and worthy of sound, principled leadership knows that the buck actually stops with them, the voters and others who permitted the powerful to have influence in the first place.

As it stands, we are poorly served by exactly what we deserve. But this is nothing new, in argument or as evidenced throughout history. While it is disturbing, there are much worse (and perversely awakening) elements waiting in the wings.

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