Discover more from The Freemen News-Letter
The Absence of Leadership in Crisis
Ted Cruz, Greg Abbot, et al. are embodying a far bigger problem in America's government.
Welcome to the Self-Evident newsletter. You may have noticed the absence of this newsletter last week. As those who follow me in social media may know, I began a new job as a Research Assistant at the UVU Center for Constitutional Studies. Settling into this new position took up a good portion of the early to mid-week last week, and I had planned on getting to writing a new newsletter over the weekend. But a pretty nasty stomach flu bug struck the Stapley household on Thursday and, by Saturday, we were all down for the count. I’d like to say I could get two out this week to make up for it, but with a math exam due this week and the beginnings of a mid-term paper to start working on, the chances are pretty slim. But this one’s getting out, for sure, before something else happens.
The Absence of Leadership in Crisis
The big news over the past little while has been the power outages in Texas, coupled with Ted Cruz’s little excursion in the midst of the crisis. There’s been a lot of spilled milk over all of this, and I have no intention of wading into the drama. However, from where I’m sitting, the actions of Ted Cruz, as well as Governor Abbot during the crisis, provide a pretty good sampling of a bigger issue that America’s facing: a dearth of good leadership in times of crisis.
Now, I’ve read many the dismissals of criticism centered toward Ted Cruz and Gov. Abbot. Many of them are right in pointing out that Ted Cruz is a Senator in the federal government and really had very little he could do. It’s fair to suggest that had Ted Cruz gone to the affected areas, he would simply be engaging in a spectacle with no measurable impact on the crisis. As well, many defend Gov. Abbot’s appearances on cable news by arguing that he’s drawing attention to serious problems with the push for green energy and federal incursions into state energy markets. But while many of these points are not necessarily wrong, I do think what we’re seeing is another demonstration that far too many conservative pundits are majoring in the minors.
Leadership is not simply about impacting a measurable bottom line. And, it’s definitely not deflecting to other issues, however real they may be.
As for the first point, I remember spending Thanksgiving on base at Fort Benning while I was attending Jump School in 2009. As I stood in line at the Chow Hall, I was surprised to discover that our Commanding Officer was serving the turkey in his dress blues with a big smile on his face, wishing those under his command a happy Thanksgiving.
While other officers had taken their leave and whisked off to family dinners across the country, here was a commanding officer not only willing to take time out of the holiday and be with his paratroopers but was willing to engage in what some might consider a menial and demeaning task, dressed up in a dress uniform that typically only comes out of the closet for balls.
Now, this officer’s presence did little to change any bottom line. The turkey was going to be served to the soldiers under his command whether he was there doing it or not. And, there were probably cafeteria workers who insisted he wasn’t needed and to go and have a good time with his family, to take a much-needed break. But good leaders know that leadership is about far more than the bottom line. A good officer cares about the whole soldier, their moral, mental, and spiritual well-being. Through a simple demonstration of solidarity, we didn’t feel left behind and a little less stuck as we were missing our families and friends.
A leader willing to share the burdens of those they lead and able to demonstrate compassion and empathy, even if they ultimately are powerless to change the realities of the “suck-factor,” is the kind of military leader that takes a random group of men and turns them into a band of brothers.
The second issue, that of deflection, is an even easier thing to criticize. There has been a disturbing trend on the Right to confuse whining with fighting. There have been far too many figures who are considered leaders in the conservative movement who have developed the habit of making excuses for everything, of deflecting criticism and pointing fingers at the Left, the media, nevertrumpers, or simply of devolving into conspiracy theories.
This new right-wing reflex is not fighting, it isn’t leadership, and, to be frank, it really isn’t very conservative at all. Good leadership accepts reality, faces the facts, trusts those they lead with the hard truths, and then leads them with clear direction toward solving whatever problems are faced. Conservative leadership should reflect this proper reflex even more so.
My Dad was a military man and career police officer. He was caring and kind, but he didn’t have time for crap. As a kid, when I did something wrong or made a mistake, he would tell me what was what and, often, my response would begin with, “Yeah, but...” I would get cut off immediately and, with a sarcastic grin, my Dad would immediately say, “The yeah buts are in the field.”
It’s a running joke to this day because of how much that dad joke response drove me crazy. But the point my Dad was teaching me as a young boy is the point that, unfortunately, far too many leaders in high places in American government cannot seem to grasp at all: when something has gone wrong, you can either look for excuses or look for solutions, rarely do you have time to do both.
It’s been my sad observation that the leadership in our country, on both the Left and the Right, has far too often engaged in poor leadership, looking for excuses instead of finding ways to be part of the solution, even if all they can do is share the burden and let people in crisis know they haven’t been forgotten or left behind.
Scott Howard gives an update on the efforts to restore principles in the Republican Party.
I discuss assault weapons and the lack of any actual firearm classification properly belonging to the notion.
A report from Thaddeus R. Winker on ongoing stimulus efforts and whether or not Democrats are overplaying their hand.
Subscribe, Share, Connect
Back to the subject of Ted Cruz, am I the only Band of Brothers fan who realized Ted Cruz essentially pulled a Dike during the power outage? (subscribe!)
Stay Free My Friends,