Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Tragedy of Self-Rule

It is absolutely disgraceful what we have allowed to happen in this country.  Self-rule is a most noble concept and the greatest leap of faith in humanity, but it becomes the greatest tragedy when the people prove unworthy of the supreme challenge it presents.   Unfortunately, this is the point we have reached.  Knowing what is best is really not very hard; it is doing what is best that proves more difficult for many because of things like desire and denial clouding one’s judgment.  The current state of our nation and society show that our moral compass seems to be skewed by the aforementioned clouded judgment.  Consumed by the trivial and blinded by our own ignorance we have squandered the priceless inheritance passed on to us by preceding generations.  With the people no longer willing to fulfill their duty of selecting capable leadership, the ensuing power vacuum has been filled by a collection of opportunistic pretenders.  The war waged on responsibility by those hoping to barter a thinly veiled existence of subjugation in exchange for the support of the dependent masses has proven successful. 

No longer familiar with the true qualifications or appropriate behavior of a leader, we are willingly handing over the direction of this nation to individuals who take advantage of a distracted and disinterested electorate.  Our best interests are not their concern, so division; envy; anger; victimization; and entitlement have supplanted character, logic, and relevant experience as the things people look for in their champions.  The world has never been at a loss when it comes to people that feel slighted or owed, so exhibiting the traits of leadership is no longer required or even expected of those that hold positions of leadership.  Today the majority of those anointed with the once revered title of leader are nothing more than rabble-rousers that capitalized on some group’s grievance.  It is always easier to stoke the fires of discontent than advocate substantive solutions based in the ever elusive and often avoided truth.   Reality, practical solutions, and logical approaches to the many problems currently confronting our society are casualties in the battle waged for the attention of an American public that just doesn’t get it anymore, and worse yet doesn’t even realize it or care about it.  Any person foolish enough to layout an honest assessment of the country’s current state and propose legitimate courses of action to set conditions for genuine improvement will never see the titles of Representative, Senator, or President precede their name.

The vast majority of people are naturally selfish and prone to submission when confronted with adversity; it is what relegates them to the role of follower.  This is not an insult; it is simply a matter of truth.  However it also means that in order for society to stay the course someone must be on the point, out front shining a light so others may follow.  Their guidance and confidence borne of experience coupled with their natural ability to inspire are the fuel that enable them to sustain the embers of perseverance that are so vital to ensure we are not just wandering around aimlessly in the dark.  Success and prosperity are potential outcomes only when efforts are focused and viable courses chosen, a situation possible only when true leaders are part of the equation.  Nations and causes are the products of people, and without those capable of articulating a productive and sensical direction the masses will continue to foolishly follow those that appeal to the malevolent side of human desires.  The very situation we face today.

We are a nation with the awesome privilege and burdensome responsibility of selecting our national leadership.  Most of human history is filled with rule by the one or the few.  The reason being that the people are generally unable to mount a concerted effort to liberate themselves and then sustain any authority they are able to wrestle from the iron grip of their ruler.  The ability to come together for a cause greater than the group is fleeting.  As quickly as power is attained, solidarity begins to fracture and conflicting motivations surface.  Resisting the allure of the shiny red apple is far too much for most.  Shortsighted, the impulse is to get what you can, while you can.  Appreciation for the sacrifices made and elusive freedoms achieved quickly fades, replaced by a nonchalant and ultimately self-subjugating willingness to exchange the priceless for the petty.  The very situation we face today. 

Where have all the leaders gone?  They have been driven to the brink of extinction by a people that no longer value the essential role they play in any successful venture.  The leaders have disappeared because we no longer choose to follow them.  This situation is particularly ironic considering our nation is the most definitive testament in the annuals of human history to what is only possible when strong leadership is present.  Our founders were the spark that ignited and sustained the American cause throughout the epic struggle that was the Revolution and the formation of our national identity that followed. The ever present hardships of doubt, in-fighting, and fear were then as they are now the ultimate threats to success.   Couple this with the enormous task of creating a new country based on the highly advanced concepts of natural freedoms and self-rule and you have the greatest of all leadership challenges.  And yet we proved to be more than equal to this challenge.  A remarkable people, supporting a remarkable cause, focused by a remarkable group of leaders resulted in a remarkable new nation.  This is not the situation we face today.

How quickly the mighty have fallen.  We are in the midst of an overall societal downturn made so much more frustrating and senseless because it is fueled by choice.  We willingly choose to support and elect do-nothings, incompetents, frauds, and demigods.  So is it really all that surprising that we are a more divided, dysfunctional, disrespected, and dependent nation that at any other time in our short history?  No, it’s not.  Those we select to follow are a reflection of us; we continually choose poorly and base our decisions on factors that have no legitimate impact on the individual’s prospects for success.  Experience, results, and qualifications are afterthoughts when compared to such irrelevant things as historical significance, perceived slights, and political promises.  Reality is a casualty of wishful thinking.  We allow ourselves to be fooled into believing certain people are much more than what the real world irrefutably shows us they are.  Seeing what we want to see instead of what is actually staring back at us.  When you place your faith in a fa├žade, disappointment is the only certainty.  The very situation we face today.

Leaders are the shepherds that steer us away from our inherently self-destructive tendencies.  Chaos is the only fate for a leaderless society.  Without those capable of shaping the overall visions and creating the coalitions necessary to bring them to fruition, nothing positive is accomplished and desperation ensues.  In this unsettling environment people are ripe to make poor decisions and be taken advantage of, as anyone promising to make it all better is viewed as a legitimate option regardless of any evidence of their abilities to fulfill their promises.  Hope is a powerful thing, even when the most undeserving are believed to be the source of it.  Logic and standards become expendable when the truth is inconvenient.  When we are the reason we are a leaderless society, those that tell us the disappointments that have befallen us are not of our doing are rewarded with loyalty and power.  Liars are confused for leaders, accountability is curiously erased from the national lexicon, and baseless expectations are labeled as destiny.  The very situation we face today.