Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inadmirable Leadership Trait

The best officers always advance before their men. Widely loved generals like Omar Bradley eschewed the officers' mess and ate the same rations as lowly buck privates- dining beside the enlisted men. In the First World War, Douglas MacArthur charged alongside his troops but neither carried a gun nor donned a helmet because he was convicted of the notion that God's destiny for him did not include a German bullet or shell. The willingness to subject oneself to the same risk and degradation as soldiers of the lowest ranks is to be commended. Today's senior officers and certainly the politicians of this era do not share this trait. The generals tend to stay in headquarters miles from the fighting- some remaining in Florida to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq (where officially the US combat role has ended- except that Americans still fight there). Our elected leaders conduct their affairs even more shamefully- they specifically exclude themselves from law that they foist on the rest of us. That is why I am certain that President Obama will not endure the indignity of having his wife and daughters manhandled to prove he is "one of us" to calm the growing anti-TSA insurrection. Obama would not stoop that low- he is not an average American and would under no circumstances pretend to be. Unlike MacArthur who was God's supplicant in leading men, Obama looks to the beaming visage in the mirror and asks what should I do next. That is a problem encountered in governance since the days of ancient Rome where certain emperors proclaimed themselves as living gods. They did not spark confidence in their publics, nor were they loved. This style of ruling will never fly for very long in the American republic.

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