Scrapping the Bottom, the Leaders We Deserve
Mark is a pillar of the faith-based community, compassionate, energetic and a biblical scholar. Ask him to contribute to the church or community and he does so without hesitation. Still he cant seem to find a permanent church home, not because he is a bad leader but because he is a good one.
This is a man who does more than preach the gospel. He lives it, preferring the lost and abandoned to the high and mighty. More, he requires that his flock put their faith in action. This explains his difficulty. While many profess their faith, few will tolerate a leader who moves them beyond the walls of the church. They instead prefer to be preached at on Sunday and entertained the rest of the week with plays, shows and trips to the casino.
Regrettably, our embrace of ersatz leaders, whether political, religious or cultural abound. And these faux giants exhibit all the signs of narcissistic personality disorder.
NPD is a long-term mental health condition which causes people to believe they are special, more important and better than others. The symptoms include feelings of uniqueness and superiority, an extremely high sense of self-importance, a desire for status, the preoccupation with beauty, power or success, a sense of entitlement and the exaggeration of personal talent and achievement. http://www.drugs.com/cg/narcissistic-personality-disorder.html.
This race to the leadership bottom is both a local and national phenomena. Recently two local candidates for political office behaved so badly as to embarrass not only themselves but the entire community. Even Martians shook their head in disapproval. Still, they have their supporters and one will be elected to public office.
Nationally, look no further than Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Creflo Dollar, Kanya West or 50 Cents. Craving attention and demanding an audience for everything they do, no matter how trite, these are leaders who love them some them.
In the last GOP debate three of the four candidates talked over and hurled insults at each other. The next day they doubled down on this behavior with accusations of pants wetting, excessive sweating and wearing man make-up. Since then the dialogue has devolved to puerile personal attacks about large ears, hair force one and gray tans. Talk about the absence of dignity?
Yet, their followers eat it up. To them, this boorish behavior exemplifies not weakness but courage, strength and resolve. Similar to the situation referenced above, one of these individuals will be a nomine for and could hold the highest office in the land.
The same dive to the leadership bottom applies to black cultural icons. We are constantly amazed by how we continue to cuddle those that we know are pimping us; how we hang on to every idiotic word they say, every stupid and sorry thing they do. That we put up with such nonsense says much more about us than them.
In the past we have analyzed the question of leadership from the prospective of the leader. However, leaders are not self appointed and as a general rule do not select themselves. We do. The dearth of leaders may therefore be an example of the tail wagging the dog. The fault may lie with the selectors rather than the selected.
One possible reason for this dysfunction is the destructive co-mingling of traditional media, social media, politics and entertainment. Branding, name recognition, ratings and the show are now the desired leadership traits. If Ronald McDonald were in the race, he too would be leading in the polls.
Next, is the politics of anger and resentment; the let it burn ideology which feeds much of the GOP primary. Many would rather the system be destroyed rather than repaired. To a lesser extent the scorched earth approach applies to the politics of the left, specifically certain racial and gender issues.
Thus, we elevate only those authorities with whom we agree and more importantly, who agree with us. Those who ratify our beliefs and feelings are bestowed the mantel of leadership. Those who do not are considered unworthy, corrupt or ignorant. There is no other way to explain the continued support of presidential candidate who believes that a Supreme Court nominee should be judged by the fruit salad of his life. God help us if he becomes our next president.
Real leaders are humble, self-sacrificing, forward leaning visionaries, not the bombastic, backwards thinking, blowhards that dominate the political, business and cultural landscape. We are selecting the commander-in-chief, not the court jester or bully in waiting. And the ability to draw attention to oneself, to always command the spotlight, does not a leader make.
In conclusion, we choose our leaders like some select their mates, ignoring the good ones in favor of the narcissistic, ego maniacs. We then cry foul when the inevitable abuse occurs.
In this election or any other aspect of life, choose whom you will. But understand this. The leaders we get are the leaders we deserve.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum