American Leadership Is Failing

Where is the leadership in America? It certainly does not exist in the White House or Congress. Why hasn’t the country been able to inspire great leaders to run for public office? What issues are making it so difficult for our elected officials to meet our most basic needs?

The world has become a more complex and dangerous place. Our leaders are dependent upon expert advice from seasoned diplomats, technicians and bureaucrats. These people have not been effective for some time based upon the performance of the country politically and financially.

Partisanship has made it impossible for politicians to find universal support on any issue. It’s not fashionable for Democrats to join forces with Republicans, and visa versa, regardless of the benefits to the country.

Historically liberals and conservatives shared interests and cooperated on legislation that was above politics, such as national security, civil rights, defense and fiscal responsibility. Now every debate in Congress is to the death. And the venom and spite that flows between the opponents has made Washington toxic.

Our political representatives are not listening to their constituencies. Americans want bipartisan cooperation. They crave honest debate. They want America’s leaders and lawmakers to listen to their problems. Too many politicians feel obligated to toe the party line regardless of what the people back home think.

This is a disastrous phenomenon as it makes elected officials more vulnerable when they seek reelection. It also gives rise to radical and destructive forces such as the Tea Party, which has torn apart the Republican Party for several years.

Every politician’s dream is to be reelected in perpetuity. Insatiable ambition to capture lofty positions within the party structure has diminished the loyalty of politicians towards voters.

Every week the integrity of one leader or lawmaker comes into question. Vetting of candidates has fallen short. Far too many people with skeletons in their closets are outed after they take office. All this has dampened the opinion of Americans about their elected representatives.

In the same vein is the plague of money in politics. America would be a better place if our elected officials spent less time trying to cozy up to big donors to whom they then are indebted. Somehow our judiciary has determined that the right of free speech protects campaign donations. Americans want great politicians, not men and women expert at raising money.

In recent elections and during cabinet appointments, our leaders and lawmakers have opted for unconditional allegiance rather than experience.

The past two presidents are/were lacking a resume that supported their elections. The result has been disastrous.

Obama was a lone wolf who could not navigate through the multitude of issues facing the leader of the free world. His inexperience was exacerbated by his similarly inept choice of advisors.

Donald Trump’s dearth of governmental experience has impeded his ability to implement a strong agenda. Cabinet and advisory departures have hampered the administration. Trump also does not listen to his too few experienced counselors.

The current president does not appreciate the importance of statesmanship. Knowing how to act in the presence of other world leaders and distinguished guests is important. Trump gets a failing grade in this regard. Frankly he’s an embarrassment to the American people.

Our presidents must represent all Americans. Obama and Trump both play/played to their base and abandoned the other half of the electorate. Obama continuously denigrated affluence in America. To him exceptionalism was a dirty word. Trump is hated by an enormous number of liberals and the media. His every word, tweet, action, comment is micro analyzed for a negative purpose.

Washington should be a place of compromise and comity. A two-party political system is good for America. But if deals cannot be negotiated and members on both sides hate each other, our government will be ineffective.

A huge majority of Americans loved JFK and Ronald Reagan. How important is it for presidents to be considered “nice guys (and women)?” Very much so. These types of individuals find it easier to convince the electorate to accept their worldview.

America is off course. The reservoir of great talent is uninterested in becoming engaged in politics. It’s too dirty. The election of the past two presidents is a wake up call for America. It’s time to encourage more experienced and empathetic people to run for office.

 

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