This column will be a return to the subject of leaders and leadership. There is a dangerous amount of politicking going on and an almost pathological desire to blame rather than fix. Our representatives; I cannot bring myself to call them leaders; talk, accuse, deny, procrastinate, and wait on surveys and polls to determine where to stand and what to do. A leader is out in front of problems, a leader seeks to not just solve problems but to preempt them. A leader will not seek to cast blame but to accept responsibility and to act accordingly. Currently there is a sixteen trillion dollar deficit. Who is to blame? Who cares, fix the problem, enact legislation to prevent its reoccurrence, and go on with life. Problem number one budgeting, our government currently spends more than it earns, and seems unwilling to address this problem. Problem number two an unwillingness to honestly look at and face the truth of party failings.
First, there is the government’s inability to control spending, create a balanced budget, and provide a means to pay off the deficit. I hear a lot of noise coming from Washington but no solution. Tax the rich is the left’s theory. Spend less is the right’s mantra. Both sides blame the other while denying any responsibility for the problem. Both sides are responsible, no bill has passed with only one party voting for it. No party has held all the keys of power so no party can be solely blamed, yet both are culpable. This is unacceptable, a leader needs to step up and offer a real and comprehensive solution. Increasing taxes on the rich will not fix the problem, decreasing spending, will not fix the problem. Even a combination of the two will fail until a balanced budget is passed, a budget that lays out a long range plan to solve the imbalance and address the way to pay off the debt. Along with a balanced budget there must be a law, or constitutional amendment, set in stone that prevents over spending and that penalizes those who would over spend. There are people in both parties that recognize this and who are willing to try. Seek them out, e-mail them, call their offices, send in letters, and donate to their campaigns, feel free to cross party lines and elect effective leaders.
The second problem is the fact that both parties are living in denial, both parties are failing the country, and both parties are failing their members. Look at the recent election fifty-one to forty-nine is a win not a mandate. Even fifty-two to forty-eight is no reason to panic or to claim a mandate. Speaking of percentages let’s take a look at the numbers again. Fifty-seven percent of eligible voter cast ballots. Fifty-seven percent voted. Fifty- seven percent! Realize this means that the vote differential is actually about twenty-nine to twenty-eight to forty-three. In other words the largest group is the under motivated and or disgusted. Neither party can claim to even have the voter support of at least a third of all voters. Never mind a mandate to enact a program; this is actually a mandate to change the parties themselves, or possibly the need to form a third party. When I was in college the running political joke was, I make too much to be a democrat, but not enough to be a republican. That was in the late seventies, forty years ago, and lo and behold things haven’t changed. So the problem is all too obvious, what is the solution?
We must find leaders, real honest to God leaders. We need the best and the brightest, not the weak and flawed. Quit electing and reelecting the liars, the foolish, the hypocrites, the corrupt, or even the questionable, hold politicians to a higher standard, not a baser one. The people need to be inspired, not disgusted. People need to trust their leaders, not be suspicious. Finally, the people need to tell politicians to lead or else. We need to follow the old adage, lead, follow, or get out of the way.
ROY POKLADNIK, a teacher and problem solver welcomes comments and suggestions for topics . He may be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.