So I keep getting this email from various Christian fellows of mine saying "God Bless the United States". Frequently it goes on to request a prayer for this nation for the Almighty to bless it and keep it.
Uh, you know I have a problem with that. Prayers are often for 'please keep the status quo' or 'make people go back to the right way of doing things'. In a country that uses the most gasoline products, that doesn't sign the Kyoto treaty, that wants credits for the trees it has to make up for the coal it burns, and the policies it asks others to follow by gunpoint, I find it hard to want God, Allah, the Godhead, or whomever you subscribe to as the divine super-god to keep things the way they are.
I'd rather pray for clean air, responsible politicians, and intelligent designs by people who not only have to make the decisions but have to live with them for the next 50 years. I want politicians to pretend like they have to be the ones that back up their statements personally. I want the government to admit failures. And any failures they make they follow it up with a new solution.
Leadership isn't claiming a mandate by the people, it's going with something that when you look into the eyes of the baby you kissed 15 years ago you can honestly not have to say, inwardly, "Sorry kid."
Leadership isn't sending people to die over and over again hoping that the variation in people that do the killing will make one sacrifice the pivotal one that changes the course.
Leadership is making people forget the bad old ways of doing things in exchange for something new and better structured.
Leadership is making phone calls to people to say you are sorry for their son's death even when you aren't the leader of the armed forces and you didn't sign off on what they are doing currently. Oh, and then going and making sure that the sacrifice isn't forgotten and policies are changed. Each person counts. No life is squandered and noone in the news service or in the public can be allowed to forget it. And the you can't forget it either.
Leadership is saying something difficult, achieving the impossible, and fighting the ignorance. Do everything in the open, and do everything like it was going to be in the open and you won't have to squelch the requests for information. Publish the bad advice, the moronic policy suggestions, the underhanded offers. If everyone knows that someone wants to buy you off, and they didn't, there will be a great deal more respect for you. And the institution you embody.
The Voters may have put you in an office, but their children will pay the price of the decision. Stop letting every child inherit a world full of bad air, bad attitudes, and bad decisions.
Wishful thinking? Maybe. But the US didn't start out with a ton of special interests being the ones listened to, where people thought twice about drinking from the river, and citizens were thinking "Let's move to Canada".