This has been the worst week of being an American for me, and I lived through 9/11 as a child. This has been the worst week, not because of casualty numbers, but because we have done each example of harm to ourselves.
Why do these horrible events keep happening? Many want to know, and truthfully, nobody has an answer; myself included.
Some argue endlessly online about the need to better train police forces, while others argue that citizens need to be trained in proper etiquette when interacting with law enforcement. Perhaps both of those things are needed, among others, but I also see a dire need for our country to re-evaluate its commitment to leadership.
We don’t just need to re-evaluate who we elect. We need to rediscover what American Leadership is, and figure out what we need it to be. Our society is bleeding, and few politicians, and very few celebrities, are getting on the ground-level with ordinary people. Perhaps that’s because going outside isn’t exactly safe anymore? I digress.
Very few efforts of bringing communities together exist. And that’s what we need. That’s what we had the last time our society was in shambles.
During the fight for civil rights, we had strong activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. We had impromptu peace concerts in Washington, D.C. The airwaves were filled with messages of peace and American unity.
Where, exactly, are such efforts now? We can all agree that statements on Facebook and memorial profile pictures do nothing more than “raise awareness” for approximately 3 days before the next tragedy happens. We need very crafty leaders to re-humanize our society, and scale back our digital habits for the sake of our country.
Politicians and celebrities have unique authority, popularity, and ability to use digital platforms in order to organize people in real-life settings, and for the most part that simply is not happening. Think about the many musical artists who have written entire albums about societal problems. Where are they now?
It’s difficult for politicians to lead community efforts, because our nation, across the board, has become painfully partisan.
What stinks, is seldom are citizens encouraged to even try to engage in democratic forums. The new popular craze is for elected officials to berate constituents for asking questions, or calling them out for something they’ve done. That needs to change. It’s not awesome, it’s not cool. It’s exactly the leadership style America should reject. Collectively, we should want more people to go to town hall forums, council meetings, and maybe even organize their own discussions at parks or coffee shops. We should not want citizens to fear public embarrassment because they cared enough to engage in their democracy.
Hopefully today, American citizens and politicians will realize that leadership is not 100% of who is right and wrong on policy.
That is just half of it. Maybe even less. Human interaction, camaraderie, and faith in one-another, are at least 50% of what American Leadership needs to be.