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The Secret to Getting Good Leaders: Push People into Office Who Are Wise Enough Not to Want the Jobs

By       Message MICHELE BURNS       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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1300 years ago, reportedly, a group of people came to Mohammed to ask his opinion of a man who had put himself forward to be their leader (you wouldn't know it today but Islam mandates democratically elected leaders.) Mohammed replied that the one who seeks leadership is the least fit for the job. Such a man, he said, does not comprehend what leadership means; a leader with integrity must sacrifice personal needs and desires to serve the group. Leadership is not a boon, he warned, but a heavy responsibility, and the wise who truly understand this will never seek leadership but will, in fear and humility, shrink from that awesome burden.

I sometimes think of those words when I see crowing politicians today. I find something a little off about a person who can stand up day after day, blowing her own horn, saying "Pick me, pick me! I'm great!" I suspect the best leaders do tend to be pushed from behind, called by duty and a willingness to sacrifice for the needs of the community.

Great Leaders Need a Push
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Self-aggrandizing power-junkies should have no place in democratic governance.

The structure of our private-money campaign system, however, tends to attract too many people who are in politics to serve their own egos, or because they have the backing of wealthy campaign donors who expect something in return for their investments. I like to think that at least some of our leaders start out with idealistic, selfless visions, but then are corrupted by a broken system that forces them into the pockets of special interests in order to fund the astronomical costs of keeping their jobs. It's a devil's bargain; to do a little bit of good for the many, they may rationalize, they'll just meet and talk with so-n-so (who has tens or hundreds of thousands for their reelection war chests)- and down the slippery slope they slide.

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Maybe she doesn't know it, but I think Dr. Elizabeth Warren could be elected president without bowing down to the moneyed interests. Warren's Senate campaign was funded by more small donors than any Senate campaign in the history of this country. Her countless fans of modest means are so excited at the prospect of an honest, straight-talking, energetic, smart, tough, fearless fighter for common sense and fairness that they will happily give and do whatever it takes to land her in the Oval Office.

Millions of voters who sent Mr. Obama to the White House thought they were seating a fighter for the average citizen. Many have been bitterly disappointed at appeasement, half steps, same-old, and sell-outs. They would do backflips to have the real thing on their side in this time of mass suffering and disappearing hope.

I have had to hold my nose for too many elections, choosing lesser evils because that's all there was. Warren says she doesn't want the job, but her bid for the presidency would inspire my passion, along with that of millions of others, and might make the trip to the polls a joy for a change. I call upon my fellow Americans to plant themselves with me posterior to Mrs. Warren, and provide the shove that might give us, at long last, a president who does not want the job, and who is therefore truly qualified for it.

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Passionate lefty, compelled to poke at injustice, inanity, or insanity now and again.

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