The Kind of Leader We Need, But Don’t Deserve

carson

 

Dr. Ben Carson is the most articulate, intelligent, thoughtful candidate (for any office) I can recall.  His calm, measured responses in the recent debate are indicative of this.  His inspiring life story reflects the higher qualities of the American dream, and increasing numbers of  voters find him a breath of fresh air in the political arena. He is the anti-politician we claim to admire.

Yet the qualities that make him a valid candidate for leadership are the arguments some use against his success.  In our current culture, his greatest strengths might become his greatest liabilities.  I say this as no criticism of Dr. Carson, but of our culture.

The same public that continually complains about career politicians winning repeated elections by spending the most money, repeatedly elects career politicians with the most money.  They choose style over substance, and rhetoric over thoughtful discourse. They question if Carson is too “nice,” “talks too slowly,” “isn’t political enough,” or (perish the thought) “makes too much sense” to be president.  At what point did leadership qualities disqualify from leadership?

I am not endorsing Dr. Carson, but consider this.  If we are ever to be free from the type leaders we claim to deplore, shouldn’t we at least be willing to consider someone who models the characteristics we need?  BECAUSE of those characteristics?  If so, now is as good a time as any.

Will the voters, while professing admiration for the man, continue electing the very politicians they bemoan? Or, counter to conventional wisdom, will they elect a candidate based on character rather than flair?  That remains to be seen.  Personally, I never underestimate the foolishness of the American electorate.

It’s said that we get the leaders we deserve. If so, and someone like Dr. Carson doesn’t win, it will be because he’s the kind of leader we need, but not the kind we deserve.

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2 thoughts on “The Kind of Leader We Need, But Don’t Deserve

  1. Probably because I’m a health care professional (medical imaging specialist), I don’t recommend doctors as being good candidates. Doctors, especially surgeons, are like God. No one questions their decisions without great risk to their own career, and Dr. Carson was a famous surgeon, which would make it even worse.

    Good government during most eras requires a person of genuine humility, one who’s whole orientation is cooperative and collaborative. Carson may be a genuinely good guy, but I can’t see him being able to make the necessary compromises.

    He isn’t even in tune on health care issues. He wants to eliminate not only Medicaid (most Republicans do), but also Medicare (hugely popular with the senior voting bloc), and replace them with some sort of voucher account system. He doesn’t believe humans have accelerated climate change, opposes same-sex marriage, and a 15% flat tax that couldn’t begin to pay for the services most Americans want.

    I agree with your main point, that we have too many of the wrong kind of people as “lifers” in government. I just don’t see Carson as a better alternative.

  2. IM – Thanks for visiting and commenting. As with all the candidates I’m sure there are plenty of personal reasons to oppose or support. What strikes me, is the tendency to consider a candidate “unelectable” because of positive qualities.

    As long as charisma, money, and personality are the defining qualities of an electable candidate, we will continue to get untrustworthy leaders (we don’t know what any of them are hiding). How can we continue to lament the weaknesses of the career politician and then criticize the “anti-politician” for lacking those same characteristics? If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got.

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