America is divided: America's leaders are divided and Americans are divided.
Yesterday I read a poll that stated that 48% of Americans want less government involvement and 48% want more government involvement. These sentiments generally follow party affiliations with Democrats tending to want more responsible government support for social programs and Republicans tending to want less government that would require higher taxes.
Different opinions are a part of democracy and a strong debate encourages thinking, new ideas, and allows citizens to voice their opinions before they support what is best for the community as decided on by the group. But the division in America seems different over the past years, therefore the leadership challenge to bring Americans together again will require a different kind of leadership that is being displayed today.
Here are a few suggestions for future Political Leaders:
1. Balance the budget. The size of the national government will have to be reduced and taxes will have to remain high until there is a balanced budget and a surplus created each year. A debate about raising the debt ceiling each year is unacceptable.
2. Move towards the middle. Both parties have extreme interest groups that are preventing civil debate. These people create great passion with fiery rhetoric and sweeping proclamations but they rarely create environments for progress with their narrow focus and desire for battle. Congress and the President take an oath of office to all Americans. If elected, serve all Americans equally.
3. Be examples of what you want others to cause. Politicians today seem like lobbyists for their districts. Don't exempt yourselves from any laws or conditions. Be the first people to feel the impact of new laws or choices not the last. Vote yourself equal sacrifices and lead by example.
4. Keep the debate alive for the good of the nation. Politics is maneuvering into a position of power to get something; leadership is solving problems. Too many people in power have become great politicians and poor leaders. When leaders stop talking, there can be no progress. Never stop the debate until the problem is solved.
5. Be great leaders. People admire foresight, honesty, inspiration, and competency above all other leadership characteristics. The current situation suggests many current leaders lack enough of these characteristics to serve the United States well. In the future, prepare yourself before you are called to lead. Be more than a person who can win an election.
6. If you can't handle the job then resign. Your job as a political leader is to lead. Leaders need to produce results. Leaders need to serve their teams well. If they are hindering the progress of their teams they should step aside and let someone else serve the people.
7. Practice long-term common sense. Democracy allows and encourages people to vote for their personal interest. Frame the conversations to show the logic behind the emotion and make sure that all people understand the long and short-term impact of their actions
Leaders will emerge to align Americans. There will be some nasty debates and bumps in the road over the next few months as politicians try to save face from their current positions. Luckily, America has enough smart, selfless, energetic people that love their community and possess the necessary common sense to help rebuild the foundations of American Leadership that will serve the country well in the next decades. I hope they don't wait too long to step forward because Americans need to start coming together now.
by Mike Nally