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A Vital Leadership Trend that Isn’t Yet a Thing

A Vital Leadership Trend that Isn’t Yet a Thing

June 27th, 2012 // 5:42 pm @

We need a whole new level of leadership. And we need it soon. Just consider some of our pressing national challenges:

  1. 75% of current Americans worry that another recession is coming.
  2. U.S. consumer confidence in June is at a six-month low.
  3. The average price of a gallon of gas in the United States was $3.88 at the beginning of the year and it is $3.48 halfway through the year. Most experts predict that it will be below $3 a gallon by the end of 2012. A few say it will be above $4. Either way, we have a problem. Lower prices look like a positive trend, but they keep us addicted to foreign oil. The pattern is to jack up prices until they hurt so bad that we begin seriously seeking alternative energy sources, then ease back on prices a little until we give up on finding a better way. Then, when we’ve stopped weaning ourselves from our addiction, jack the prices up again. Only the right kind of leadership will solve this for the long term.
  4. President Obama’s support is down since 2008 in almost every voting demographic, but it is up 2 points among Hispanics. Few election experts believe Mitt Romney can win the election—especially in the battleground states—without a significant uptick in Hispanic support. And Romney came across to many as sharply anti-immigrant during the 2012 Republican primaries. Neither 2012 presidential candidate has yet shown the will to establish a truly effective national immigration policy.
  5. The July 2, 2012 cover story of Time Magazine reads: “The History of the American Dream: Is it Still Real?” The Asian, European and South Pacific versions for the same date held an alternative cover story: “Made in China: Why Apple’s Future Depends on the World’s Largest Market.”
  6. A June column in Newsweek calls this year’s graduates “The Not-So-Special Generation.”
  7. Over two-thirds of Americans want the government to use unmanned drones to hunt down criminals, but two-thirds do not want the same technology used to patrol highways and issue speeding tickets. We want more government oversight of others, less of ourselves.
  8. A majority of Americans want the government to decrease spending, but there is little agreement on cutting any specific program.

Many other serious national concerns could be cited, but one thing is certain: We are a nation deeply in need of more, and better, leadership.

Sadly, it appears increasingly evident that our political leaders may no longer be able to fulfill this role.

The story of Barack Obama is instructive on this point.

As a lifetime liberal with long experience and connections in the progressive community, President-Elect Obama took over the White House with big intentions of reframing our national politics into a less divisive, more cooperative endeavor.

He seems to have been surprised at the vehemence of the two-party system, and how quickly the opposing party lined up to get him out of office—regardless of what he did, or didn’t do, as a leader.

President George W. Bush, who came into office with big goals of creating a more compassionate conservatism, faced the same reality—the opposition lined up against him before he proposed a single policy.

Whether you are a supporter of President Obama, a critic, or more neutral, the reality of our new politics is frustrating.

The next president, either in 2012 or 2016, will likely face the same problem.

Welcome to the new system in Washington: A president isn’t judged for what he does as much as for which party he belongs to.

We are a nation with major struggles and we desperately need great leadership, but our political system has reached the point where our top elected officials have little chance of providing such leadership.

The system simply won’t allow it.

The next campaign starts the morning after Election Day, with no break between elections and no sense of a U.S. president we’ll all follow for four years.

Today’s system is more divided: the chief executive is now widely perceived as only as the president of the Republicans or the president of the Democrats.

We are at a crossroads in America.

We need great leadership as much as at any time in our history, but our political system no longer allows it to come from Washington.

We may have reached the point where only an Independent President will be able to get anything done.

Or, another solution may be a revolution of leadership, with leaders rising from other—non-political—arenas.

This may be one of the most important trends of the 21st Century, but it is not yet a trend.

Needed: A generation of non-political leaders to help America get back on track!



odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the co-author of New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Current Events &Featured &Government &Independents &Leadership &Liberty &Politics &Statesmanship

7 Comments → “A Vital Leadership Trend that Isn’t Yet a Thing”

  1. Ammon Nelson

    12 years ago

    When you say “non-political” leaders, I am assuming you mean leaders who are not affiliated with any political party. Political has become a bad word with very few people taking the time to understand what is meant by it. In the current vernacular it means what you are describing about partisan politics. However the word originates from the Greek politikos, meaning “of citizens or the state.” So in some senses we really need a truly “political” leader, don’t we?

  2. Kris Bayer

    12 years ago

    I have been changed and inspired greatly by your work, Oliver! I was introduced to TJed 4 years ago and have read much of your work. I have always loved your emphasis upon individual responsibility, and this idea is expressed well in your last 2 posts.
    I do not think an independent president would fair any better in today’s world, but I could be wrong. I love your other solution, “a revolution of leadership, with leaders rising from other—non-political—arenas.” It is similar to the mini factories you have mentioned before. I think of the Invisible Hand and how valuable and capable humankind is. I am all for the non-political solutions!

  3. Keith

    12 years ago

    The leaders exist, but the Hegelian left/right party system will not allow outside voices inside their two-headed opposition. It is like there is an outside, secretive combination of power that plays the two parties off each other as a distraction from real ideas, all designed to maintain control. When you run for a local office in the city council or county commission, you instinctively know who the power centers are that you need to appeal to. This is a micro reality of macro problems on a global level. Real power exists and influence peddling is the name of the game. So, the problem is not leadership but instead creating a better model for leadership to surface, which is the open forum and not the popular poll. Look at the city council as a perfect example. Not one city council member represents a certain area of the city. They all represent the same body of the whole. This design naturally favors power centers and power groups and not an independent mind. Unless we create a better model for independent minds to speak freely without party or power pressures, where ideas and people are promoted from round table and open forum dialogue, like how our senators were once elected by state legislatures (where open debate and real discussion was the norm) we are doomed. We need to look at the Socratic model before Plato polluted it for his gain. Weed need to look at the ancient Egyptian schools of oral discussion, and the education Christ had in the temple where discussion, free expression, and free enquiry ruled. How do we create that freedom of dialogue within a closed system that is accessible by all within the same system? The current political models will not allow for it. They hate freedom because they cannot control it. And so the only solution is a private micro model, a new city development that refuses to pattern itself after state designs for creating an incorporated city with the ineffective council design. This private city development is its own charter, like a coop in a way. Is such a concept being considered? Yup. Are investors and engineers, planners, and builders working on such a thing? Yup. The problem is that agenda 21 planners want the same thing but for their own plans for global governance. Sustainability for the planet is their goal and not the conservation of responsibility within closed community designs. The battle ground for the 21st century is community. One side wants to dominate community with central planning and top down controlled leadership, and the other prefers that each community solve for itself out of an open convention or legislative selection process, where leaders surface naturally by taking responsibility rather taking donations. Which one do you think will grant more freedom for independent minds? Which one promotes the best leadership that produces the best statesmanship?

  4. Ammon Nelson

    12 years ago

    Keith, I agree. The community is definitely the battle ground for the 21st Century. We need to start building up the institution of the community.

    I am just starting my own liberal education, and based on your comments you have done a lot more research and study than I have. I have started a blog with an idea of a mini-facory model with the purpose of strengthening the independent community. If you wouldn’t mind, I would really appreciate any feedback you could give.
    The url is: freecommots dot wordpress dot com

  5. Kris Bayer

    12 years ago

    That was a great explanation. I love how you present that concept. I would love for you to elaborate on the statement about “the Socratic model before Plato polluted it for his gain.” I just finished a book called the “Socrates Cafe.”

  6. Keith

    12 years ago

    Socrates Cafe is a good book. As for the Socratic Model, all I can say is that the true western tradition never got off the ground. It died with Socrates, or better yet it was killed with Plato. Plato’s Republic is a manual for despots and a bible for dictators. This has been more of our tradition than anything truly liberal and free. If you wish to read a book that liberates the western tradition and brings it out of darkness and out of obscurity, read the Platonic Idiom by Samuel Dael. It was dedicated to Socrates and is now being used by a professor at UC Berkley. I would elaborate more but that would be too dangerous and too wordy in this platform. The return of the men of wisdom is coming and a new renaissance is around the corner.

  7. Kris Bayer

    12 years ago

    I wish you could elaborate but I got the book instead.

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