I’ve had a lot of time to think lately. You might have noticed I’ve been pretty quiet the last few weeks. Sometime last month I managed to come into contact with a very nasty bug of some sort. What started out as a sinus infection turned into a 20 day battle with two rounds of antibiotics and lots of rest time. In the long run it turned out to be a blessing of sorts as I haven’t taken any time off this year so this was a chance to spend more time with Joann, read a pile of magazines, books, and newspapers and day dream a lot.
I thought a lot about leadership. Many of the articles I read were about President Obama and our current legislative bodies. I’m someone who bought into the President’s ideas two years ago for changing politics as usual. Change was the key motivator for millions of people especially for the 25 million young people between 18 and 29 years old. They (and I) believed he was going to transform things.
Instead he focused on maintaining the status quo. Over 69 million people voted for him and were ready to follow his leadership. We were ready to help him make the changes he talked about and the changes we also wanted and supported. Instead of using the tribe he had ready to help with the hard work of change, the President became presidential, surrounded himself with status quo advisors, stopped using his inspirational speaking abilities and spent two years trying to compromise with people who had no intention of compromising.
So a few months ago the Democrats got walloped in the election. Almost 40% of the young people who voted in 2008 stayed home this time. Disillusioned? Absolutely! I’ve talked with them and they all say the same things. “He let us down.” “He got in office and became just another politician.” “I believed him. Now I don’t.”
Here is what I don’t understand. Sixty-nine million Americans voted for change. What would have happened over the past two years if the President had stuck to his promises and used the media (both mainstream and social) the way he did to get elected and asked us to not accept the actions of both the Senate and House. Would we have said, “Oh no, we voted for you but it’s up to you now. We’ll just sit and watch you do all the work.” I don’t think so. I think we would have done what he asked of us. But, instead of asking us to work to make change happen, he spent his time asking for compromise from the very system he vowed to change.
I wonder what would have happened if he had acted like a leader instead of a manager?
What do you think?Photo courtesy of marcalandavis