Singular opinions are rarely the best answers to any given problem. No pebble falls in the water and creates ripples that only go in one direction.
When it comes to the public trust, our leaders should determine what the problem is and why it exists, followed by thoughtful consideration of all the downstream effects. With complex problems and issues and multiple viewpoints, rarely is there a simple solution.
Our elected leaders are missing the boat. Either their lack of understanding or their ambition are blinding them to the fact that we elected them to resourcefully resolve issues and plan for the future, not contribute to tribal polarization and “us vs. them.”
So, elected leaders, what’s your motivation — your own power or the betterment of the people who sent you there? Are societal fractures and polarizing issues — solutions to which define the lives of millions — but tools to further your own influence? Or are they opportunities to actually make the future a better life than the past?
After all, that’s what we all sign up for. Modern government’s social contract involves a transaction in which personal freedom is exchanged for the benefits of banding together in collective action. Every day I’m reminded that our elected leaders aren’t fulfilling their end of the bargain.
No two persons are alike. No two persons have the same set of experiences, upbringing, ethical base or background. Everyone is unique and gratefully have different thoughts on how things should be done.
How boring would our existence be if there were only one answer for every issue? No creativity, no new answers … just keep on doing the same thing, utilizing the same thoughts and answers, even though the issues have morphed and evolved in new directions. If this were the case, then we’d still be dreaming about fire from the depths of a cave, let alone lighting one in the comfort of the living room in our home.
Great leaders solicit multiple opinions, especially when the needed answer has multi-directional effects. They do so because their decision is not to further the interests of the leader — but to solve problems for those who are led.
Good leaders do not need to manufacture an “other” to create a following. Good leaders do not create their own problems, find a solution that restores the status quo and then claims to be a problem-solver worthy of a Nobel Prize. Good leaders do not put up a screen of smoke and fill it with mirages. Most importantly, great leaders recognize any singular solution doesn’t completely resolve the problem for all.
Through conscious effort to reach out and understand the what and why of the other side’s thinking — and through a serious communal discussion on the downstream effects of whatever the solutions might be — we can break through this idiotic polarization, myopia and playground one-upmanship that permeates our congresses today.
All of you, no matter your party affiliation, please step back and ask yourself: “Am I serving my party and an ideological base, or am I truly looking out for the citizens of my district, city or state?” “Am I really addressing the problems and opportunities, or am I preoccupied with carrying the party colors and falling in line with party leaders?”
Be yourself. Be an adult. Be a leader.