|Source: Rob Tornoe|
At the conference I just returned from, one of our discussions was about what makes for a good leader. We brainstormed and came up with these attributes:
That is a pretty solid list-we could add to it or hone it a little more, but overall...
Here is my question? Why isn't 'flip flopping' on there? One of the things one of the presenters talked about over and over again was 'change over time'--history is 'change over time'. One of the questions we wrestled with was whether Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator or did he have to be pushed into freeing the slaves. We looked at his speeches and writing as a legislator in Springfield. We looked at the Lincoln Douglas Debates. We looked at his presidential campaign. And finally, we looked at his presidency.
|Source: The Civil War Trust|
|Source: Library of Congress|
I'll let that marinate for a bit and come back to it at a later date.
|Source: Jack Ohman|
Why can't we let leaders change their minds?
Look at the list. The ability to change their mind isn't on there. Yes, it can be seen in several of the traits. But we eschew leaders who flip flop. Maybe we are the issue and not the leader themselves. We seem to want them to have a 'conviction' and not change that conviction while leading. As if the idea was fully formed on the day of their first breath and it remains until their last. Political campaigns are riddled with candidates who were for something before they were against something.
I'm not suggesting that leaders let what is popular or what will get them elected be the 'deciderer'. I'm saying that many issues are complicated and we often force our leaders to offer an assessment before they've seen all the facts. If you read many presidential biographies, you see that, oftentimes, campaign rhetoric is based on information they don't have as a candidate. As president, they come under-fire for changing their position.
In keeping with this school year's theme, one of the things I want to do is explore this idea. Do we do more harm than good when we vote for a person based on one or two 'litmus tests'? One of the things it forces us to do as an electorate is to understand the issues ourselves. Not. Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity. Not the RNC or DNC. Not the Tea Party or Move On.
As I said, I'm still letting it marinate myself. I would be interested in hearing what others think. Feel free to comment.