As I stood in an early voting line at our local library last week I was thinking about the recent report that the vast majority of Americans distrust and are disgusted with politicians, including those we will elect on Tuesday, November 6.
- Ninety percent — nine of ten Americans — believe that “most politicians are more interested in winning elections than in doing what is right.”
- Over 70% believe that while the “system of government is good… the people running it are incompetent.”
In spite of that we keep voting, and hoping that those elected to office are leaders or at least become the leaders we need and for which we hope.
In The Servant as Leader, Robert Greenleaf suggested that only those individuals who are proven and trusted servants should be chosen as leaders. While he recognized that leaders can become servants he thought it best to find leaders among those whose natural disposition is to serve the common interest.
I wondered who the people around me were voting for and why? It was a quiet, polite line with a few friendly conversations. No one was shouting their preferences or insulting one another even though I’m sure we were a cross-section of political parties and persuasions.
I wondered if we were voting for the best leaders or for ideologues who view their opponents as enemies to be mocked, vowing to their supporters never to cooperate or compromise with the other side?
Our political deadlock is driven by ideologues from both the left and right rather than by servant leaders to be found among all constituencies.
A couple of what ifs –
What if we followed Greenleaf’s advice to seek the servants among us rather than supporting extreme partisans. We need political debate, but when partisans become ideologues and demagogues the democracy is threatened.
What if in voting for democrats, republicans, independents – or whomever – we took the time to find and support within our groups servants who as patriots put the well-being of the country before special interests?
That would go a long way to remove our distrust and disgust with politicians.
Is that not what our founders had in mind when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and framed the Constitution for a revolutionary democracy?