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A Vision of Leadership PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Aubin   
Friday, 07 November 2008

It seems that monumental change and hope are in the air after Tuesday night and the election of Barrack Obama. People see the changes this country has made in the eyes of our first African American president. The milestone has been placed by the roadside and we all are ready to travel forward into the future.

I am hopeful and moved as well. Candidate Obama halted his campaign for a day to visit his grandmother in her dying days. She dies just 48 hours before her grandson won an election that places him as the leader of the free world. I cannot identify what this means or meant for his campaign, but what it means to me is that this man has sound emotional judgement. He knew what he had to do for himself. He took care of himself. I can learn from that.

During the campaign - Obama was attacked mercilessly. He was called a terrorist and the word "Muslim" was used as a nasty word like "liberal" years before. I saw a man who kept clear emotional grounding while maintaining a human face. He was calm but never cold. He found a way to answer the attacks without being defensive; he stayed dignified without being demoralized; he made his points without resulting to attacks. He stayed clear of personal character assassinations that "Rovian" politics has raised to a black art. I can learn from that.

In his acceptance speech, Obama used oratory flourish, but kept people in the reality of the immediate future. While he raised the crowds emotion, I saw a man who was holding them very grounded in reality. While he could have moved the crowd to an emotional high, I saw him keep the emotion contained. "Yes we can" was not a cheap phrase - not a tag-line to the election, but a real needed mantra for what our country needs. I can learn from that.

I have been saddened by the game-playing that has been growing in American politics. I saw meanness and power-over used by the current administration. They were penultimate national and international bullies. It seems that they had gotten so good at it - anybody who stood up with even reasoned positions and issues was vilified so as not to gain any traction against their power. "You are either with us - or with the terrorists."  Even as the economy and war positions have proved disastrous - the power-over clan uses its bullying to blame the other guy.

I saw that kind of power-over used in state and local politics as well. Lets vilify the character of the person - and not place the merit of their argument on the table for full vetting. If someone disagrees - label them as not a "team player," make sure they are off the team for good. Make sure they are not even able to make a living in this area. Make them want to leave entirely.  This can be done with quiet threats. If that doesn't work - use all the muscle you can muster.

And the result is disastrous.  People are afraid to respond to the call of public service. People become disenfranchised and un-involved. People tune out. People give up. They give up hope.

I cannot say that my enthusiasm for Barrack Obama is un-checked. I see a man who needed a great deal of money - and the acceptance of the media to get to where he is today. That changes a man. I see a man whom  I project upon all my hope  - but see that those are my projections, my imagination for the future. He will definitely be more like the administrations, the film loops we have seen in the past. You can count on that.

What I see for myself is the actions listed above - from those I can learn. I see a new way of wielding power - some call it power-with. And I have a way I can judge that. I can take an inventory of my feelings each day and say, "Do I feel like giving up?" If the answer is yes ... then I see that we are shifting back to power-over.

My real hope lies less with Barrack Obama and his administration, but more for the possibility that he can model a different kind of leadership. We have been infected with the mean bullying of the Bushies. We have believed that these people will never be held accountable - untouchable. We believed that dissent was unpatriotic, wrong, unAmerican. I see that kind of attitude seeping right into our town, its leadership, its citizens and children, and ultimately right into me.

I have hope that now that we have seen a different kind of leadership energy, an ideal not of a man, but above and beyond, we can start learning and modeling that. We will know. We will feel good about ourselves and our country. We will want to get involved. We will want to work together.

I know that when I put that idea in my head - and if we all do - it will become the world we envision. I will believe this as long as I can. When I don't - please remind me of that vision. We can each remind each other.

It is a vision where we can work with people that are not like us - and make it better for everyone.
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