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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/20/09


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We've all experienced the traditional hierarchy, starting in our childhoods, with the leader (dictator) at the top of the triangle and the "under-layers" that serve the leader and his or her mission. B-schools identified another model some years ago that demonstrates significant advantages in promoting morale, communication, productivity, and effectiveness: Leader as Servant. The hierarchical triangle with the leader at the top is inverted; the role of leaders at each layer is to facilitate the work and service of their employees or direct reports rather than to direct it. Leader as Servant is a successful model, and one that should be adopted for all elected "Public Servants".

But, this is not a treatise on effective democracy, but an attempt to once again shine a light on the dark side of political ambitions-narcissistic rewards, otherwise known as 'perks'. Whether it's a chance to mingle with stars on Saturday night, live, or a chance to co-mingle with DDD-cup sex workers, a large number of our public servants believe that their job description includes these benefits. Sorry, folks, that's not what we voted for. And when the ship is sinking all around us, politicians need to be able to park their narcissism on a shelf and attend to the lifeboats, or else we might be tempted to throw them overboard ourselves.

I've got nothing against the pursuit of fame nor the pursuit of sex. I believe that consensual sex (as well as drugs and rock and roll) should be fully legal for adults and teens 18 and over. What I do object to is the assumption that being elected to political office automatically means that one is entitled to indulge in sexual activities that detract from the obligation to focus on one's professional duties. Whether it's hiking on the Appalachian Trail, smoking cigars in the Oval Office, or surfing into an escort service, all these activities take time away from reviewing and researching legislation, updating one's fund of knowledge, and calmly and wisely considering strategic options and directions for leadership that can fulfill the covenant with voters. And, when the alert levels are inching towards "red" all across the nation, minutes focused away from tasks at hand, so to speak, can lead to catastrophic neglect, a dangerous power vacuum, or the risk of malefactors exercising undue political influence under threat of revealing career-ending skeletons and closets.

Women successfully overcame perceptions that their hormonal cycles and "natural tendencies" made them unfit to hold officer and have soared professionally. Most adult men and women are quite capable of controlling their behavior and limiting their human needs, including sexual desire, to appropriate forums. Someone who is unable to keep his trousers zipped while on the voter's clock deserves to be escorted out of office, and replaced with a mature, centered individual who understands the meaning of Leader as Servant, instead of expecting that leadership's rewards are to be serviced.

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Jill Jackson is a practitioner of kindness and common sense. Unlike her cat, she prefers to think out of the box.

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