Some weeks I know exactly what I want to write about and other weeks I seem to struggle. There is so much going on in the world that sometimes I just want to move to some isolated island and chill out. Come to think about it, that's not too bad an idea except for that pesky little detail about affording it. Oh, well, minor details.
This week I've thought about a lot of things and I just can't stop thinking about the huge divide that we have in this country right now and what that means as we move forward as a nation. It seems like the extremes on both sides of the political spectrum have taken over the political discussions and everyone else is left out.
On the Republican side, there are groups that maintain the position that if you don't follow every single plank in the party platform then you are a RINO (Republican In Name Only). And on the Democratic side you have groups that quite frankly will not be happy until we become a socialist country with total control by the federal government.
The problem is that those in the middle don't care enough to tell the fringes that enough is enough. There is no reason that we shouldn't have a functional federal government (versus the dysfunctional one that we have right now) except for the fact that most people (both elected and non-elected) favor politics over policy.
Obviously I have strong conservative personal beliefs that I stand up for and am not afraid to share.
Conversely, I have made friends in Jefferson City with people who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. And, while I respect their beliefs I won't say that from time to time we didn't clash and that sometimes there just wasn't room for compromise. In those cases, the majority wins and, as the president said, elections do have consequences.
But, where we have lost our way as a country is that everything is now a black and white issue and you either win or you lose – there doesn't seem to be any other options. People don't seem to realize that the world is full of a lot of gray. And, there seems to be very little regard for that little thing we call the Constitution. Don't like a law then just use a regulation to get to the same result. Don't agree with a judge – just ignore what they say and dare someone to do something about it.
So when did compromise become a dirty word and civility get replaced with hostility? I guess it was when people quit caring and became more concerned with what was in it for them versus what was in it for us. Somewhere along the line it became easier to just let the government do everything for us and that way we didn't have to expend as much effort. And, of course there is that little thing called leadership (or lack thereof).
Page 2 of 2 - I was conducting a training session earlier this week for a company and asked the question of the group "what is a supervisor?" One of the responses was that they were a leader. To which I asked what does that mean? Leadership is different than supervising and is different than managing or administrating.
Good leaders put public policy ahead of politics. They make decisions that will move the country forward regardless of their own career or legacy. Leaders care more about others than they do about themselves. Leaders take the blame – they don't share the blame. A lot of people claim to be leaders but great leaders are recognized by others and not by themselves. Great leaders cut through the political discourse and lead everyone – not just some of the people.
In the movie "Cool Hand Luke" the warden said to Paul Newman "what we've got here is failure to communicate." I will take a little poetic license and change that to "what we've got here is failure to lead." And that comment is pointed at anyone who claims to be a leader and isn't (regardless of party affiliation). If the shoe fits wear it.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.