[October 7, 2018] In my long-running series on leader trends, I’ve tried to lay out what I see as troubling patterns in leadership. It’s usually something that has happened that sparks my interest and that is what motivated me today. The recent U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process has convinced me that our national leaders are actually pushing hate and envy as acceptable behavior.1
This leader trend has been growing since the 1960s and runs counter to American core values. Since America provides valuable leadership worldwide, the very idea of spreading hate and envy would appear to be antithetical to both our tradition and the fundamentals of great leadership.
“Moreover, these disturbances of the mind, like plants, must be nourished and augmented by the same roots from which they spring; therefore hatred increases as the persons hated grow worse, while envy swells bigger as the envied rise higher in the true braveries of virtue.” from Plutarch’s Moralia
On my Twitter account yesterday I posted an article that discusses the confirmation process that may leave “lasting scars”2 … directly attributable to our senior-most political leaders. The divisiveness that saw new levels during the Obama presidency, has taken on something sinister. Violent acts and political leader encouragement of violence has been adopted as a legitimate tactic to shut down public discussion and unpopular political ideas.
The true test of great leadership is bringing people together, not dividing them up into tribes and arbitrary social constructs. Great leadership means rejecting hate and envy, as well as the predictable outcome of these emotions expressed in violent behavior. Civil discussion at the political level no longer takes on an air of professionalism but that of a bar fight.
Let’s hope our political leaders get their heads straight and get down to the business of running the country for the good of all and not for their favored interest groups. Hate and envy are not what we should be encouraging for any reason.
- You can see Justice Kavanaugh’s reaction to the unsubstantiated accusations here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7etBfNArkcU If we were to look at the protestors and many of the sitting U.S. Senators we would clearly see the unrestrained emotions of hate and envy.
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