Regnat Populus

The people rule.

Leader or politician.

Posted by Max Barron on January 15, 2009

It needs to be said that leaders and politicians are very different.  In fact, I am of the opinion that the latter cannot be the former.  It seems people expect a leader to be a consummate politician, and a politician to be a leader.  The two could not be more different, and should be disassociated.  Leaders, unlike politicians, make decisions and stick by them.  They see the big picture, they determine their path, and they stick to that path regardless of what the followers think.  Politicians choose whichever path they think will please the people following them, regardless of the destination.  This path may change at any time based upon the opinion of the constituency.  Leaders are principled and strong willed.  Politicians are weak willed and change with the polls.  Politicians are also likely to capitulate to outside influences and are guaranteed to do what is politically expedient, whereas; a leader doesn’t care about what is politically expedient.  They do their best to do what is right and what accomplishes their goals.

There is a tendency in our country to elect officials that capitulate and cater to the masses, and at the same time want our officials to be leaders.  The tendency is to want to have the cake and eat it too.  It is completely unrealistic.  The fact of the matter is that to be a leader, a real leader, one must not capitulate.  One must not cave in or pander.  A leader does not lie to gain your confidence.  A leader gains respect and confidence by telling the truth, by sticking to their principles, and by doing what is right without consideration for the political ramifications.  Politicians do none of those things.  By nature a politician is like a traveling sales man, willing to say or do nearly anything to sell you their snake oil.  Much like the traveling salesman, politicians are typically more eloquent speakers than leaders, leaders are characteristically more honest.  Honesty, may be the best policy, but as we see time and time again, it is rarely what people want to hear… and it almost never pays off.

This has been well demonstrated on the national stage.  People elect politicians and wonder why they are not good leaders.  People wonder how there could be so much corruption and partisanship.  Then people chastise the politician, and rightly so, after the politician has been caught in a lie or scandalous act.  However, the people should also chastise themselves for having voted for a politician.  One cannot help but take the blame for having so foolishly cast their vote.  As a whole, our nation should be ashamed for having voted for politicians.  If it is leaders that we are looking for, then we should elect real leaders.  We have done it before.  We did it in 1980, 1984, 2000, and again in 2004.  These Presidents were both leaders.  While Reagan was gifted with eloquence and Bush was not, they were both leaders.  However, the people have ravenously lashed out at our current leader.  They have treated him in a manner that would be deemed cruel and unusual were it carried out in any prison facility.  The people have again turned away from leadership in favor of the spineless capitulators.

Here at the end of 2008, they got what they wanted.  Against the best interests of the country, they got their politician.  They bought the snake oil.  In the years to come I would be amused to see them find out that the magic elixir to which they invested lock, stock, and barrel, is nothing more than snake oil; if it would not mean that the rest of us end up with nothing more than snake oil as well.

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