Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

18 January 2010

The truth about politicians

The truth is that the reason people don't like them... is because people don't necessarily like to be managed. And it's their job to manage. It happens at work. At church. At home. It's life.

There have been a glut of articles and stories lately about the "failure" of the first year of Obamamania and how it hasn't lived up to expectations. Well no kidding! Because people fell into the trap that I wrote about over and over and over... they attached the word "Hope" on a grander scale to something/someone that does not bring legitimate hope. And people bought it because of the inspirational story that it WAS, the slick marketing (which is totally OK), and the fact that humans DO hunger for HOPE. It's built into us.

I'm stunned at the shock people have had about Obama. He has done pretty much exactly what he told people he was going to do, including escalating war in Afghanistan. It really was quite a study in human behaviour during the election to see Obama talking about how he will proceed with war in new places, while people were lost in a gooey-eyed wonderland about how he would establish world peace because he was young and hip. Obama himself must be wondering if people even listened, or are just reacting childishly when the realities of WORK and SACRIFICE arrive in the mail.

Accomplishing goals and establishing new frontiers takes work. Most of it behind the scenes. And while that is going on, you can easily lose the PR war (which has become the meal ticket). The truth is, most politicians are hard-working public servants who are attempting to lead in the way they know best with the best of motivations. The truth is that most politicians (for all the griping of those who feel that the world is entitled to their option) make a fraction of what they would make in the private sector. The truth is that politicians sacrifice an exorbitant amount of personal, unpaid time to the excruciating minutia of management that demands it of them... so that SOME larger picture change can happen at the sum of it all.

The truth is that as soon as politicians take a public stand, half (or likely more than half) of the people they care enough about to serve... hate them and call them names your mother would have washed your mouth out with soap if she heard you saying. This... is WRONG.

But this is part of the burden of leadership. Leadership IS sacrificial servanthood. And, for some reason, it's not an easy thing for most to empathize with. And this makes it especially difficult when, in a democracy, you NEED those very people who scream bloody murder at you... to care enough to "sacrifice" 5 minutes of their time once every four years to make a pencil mark beside your name on a piece of paper. Then they can go back to ignoring what you're really saying.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Winston Churchill

People AND other politicians (or leaders) do themselves no favors when they accusingly shout "liar" at each other. More often than not, it's just us not liking having someone "managing" or "leading" us because it's a skin-level temporal inconvenience or reaction to change. Not always... but more than we'd like to admit. And that's whining. And that's not becoming of an adult.

On the Christendom front, my friend wrote a fantastic blog the other day called "The Pride of Criticism"

Criticizing involves a lot of pride. It is very self-gratifying to find you have the “one up” on your church’s leadership or your fellow Christians. Some would be so bold as to criticize the body of Christ as a whole. These people are seldom brave enough to confront the people to which they have so much to boast against behind their back.

Matthew 12:25 states that, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. Criticism tears down and divides, it does not edify. It is like a sickness. What body functions well when it is sick? Granted some people have great ideas for changes.

Some people have great discernment for spiritual things. But you will forever hear me quote my father who says, “You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.”

It would do us all well, to think twice before being that critical voice. At very least we should make sure we've done what we can to build up our leaders... before deciding it's our place to play God, and tear them down.

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
Romans 13


chrisfriel.ca said...

I'm torn on subject of your blog Dave...on one hand, I have experience with being unfairly cricticized as a politician, but at the same time, I believe it is imperative that we not submit to authority and that we maintain a high degree of independence in all of societal interactions. For example, submitting to authorities would have meant that the civil rights movement would never have changed a wrong. A subject for coffee and discussion no doubt

Dave Carrol said...

Yeah I get ya. And can't argue with that logic as well.

But the pendulum has beyond swung in the direction of "all politicians are crooks and liars" And I think it's somewhat imperative to the success of our system for there to be more support than there is.

Leader burnout is a massive issue that most couldn't care that much about. I remember the first time I thought this was back when Bob Rae was the premier of Ontario and I only heard a daily barrage of "You're screwing up our province" on the radio/paper/TV/around town. I remember thinking that (even though I also personally disagreed with his direction) that this was a real person who didn't wake up that day and say... "how can I screw up Ontario today".

In fact he did what he was elected to do. Voter chose and then unchose him. And that's good. But in the meantime, he was shredded to the point where his name is still blaspheme in many homes (until he went skinny dipping with Rick Mercer... then he was cool again??)

Anyway... I think I'm just saying that leaders do deserve a higher degree of respect and buy in.

Brian's quote from a couple of weeks ago on www.freedomhousetv.com was a good one. "Without vision people perish but without people vision perishes"

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