Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Decent Leaders who have been forged in the furnace of life
What is it, that gets in the way of common sense solutions? What is it that stops people being kind? Which part of a persons brain can be by-passed, so they can ignore the suffering of others? Is there any way of determining who these people are so we can avoid choosing these people as our leaders? Surely the benefit of being Human is that we can transcend the "Selfish Gene?"
Of course, life is more complicated than that and not so many issues are black and white, though I can't help feeling that there are certain times when everyone should be united in condemning unsavoury behaviour, and yet they don't.
Hopefully, only temporarily, the art of negotiation appears to be lost. I am primarily referring to our law-makers and leaders, but everyone really, because, we all count. We are all capable of making a difference, yet, we, as ordinary voting citizens are only too apt to throw our hands in the air in despair and say: "what's the point, we don't make a difference anyway" - but if we say or think that - we are wrong, flat out wrong! Not more than a few thousand miles away or less, there are people, brave people who are willing to risk life and limb to get the right to vote.
Out of the majority of people, I talk to; they are a diverse bunch - and while they all have a range of different opinions on many subjects, by and large, they can instinctively tell the difference between right and wrong. They just know. Perhaps their Mama's told them or their teachers or the books they read influenced them, but they know. This appears to be more than we can expect from many politicians right now, hence our frustration.
But I will say again, I feel sure that there are a majority of politicians from all sides who know the right thing to do but still follow the dogma of party politics. I say to them; "stand up and be counted - be the Lion - follow your heart". That is what we the people want, even if we don't know it, that is what we need. That is why we chose you - to lead us and set our example to follow.
Business leaders, it seems, tend to be more pragmatic in their approach. That is not to say they are any more or less worthy than the average politician; they are just as capable of being driven by greed and self-interest as we all witnessed first hand in the 'Banking crises" of 2007/8 but perhaps more so, by Market Forces, which could equally just be interpreted as "Greed" by another name. But aren't we all - greedy that is? Isn't that what the real arguments are all about - Greed? Or put another way, - "how can I get more - which party in politics is going to give me more? I don't want those people over here - I don't care how much they are suffering - if they come here it might mean I get less? If I help people who are suffering, in pain, in fear, people who are starving or sick or threatened - I might get less! That is bad for me so I will protest - down with anything and anyone that may prevent me from getting more or threatens what I already have".
Is this not what it is really all about? Is this not the foundation for Trump and Brexit? Playing on peoples fears and exaggerating the truth in the negative. Always playing to the lowest part of our selves. What has happened to us? I will tell you - My Nanny used to say "enough is as good as a feast." but now we have too much. And the more we get, the more we want. We don't know what enough is anymore because we have more than enough.
Yet - if you walk down a street in any town you will find someone begging. We, in the western world, should be outraged at this. But we don't seem to act at all. In fact, I was stopped the other day by an individual when I had put some money in this beggars bowl - and this person said to me in passing "you shouldn't do that, it just encourages them"! What is even more shameful is that it is estimated that about 7,000 of these people begging on our streets here in the UK are ex-forces. Sailers, Soldiers, Airman who have actually served their country and this is how we leave them. What shame we carry and yet it seems that too many of us are not that aware or concerned.
So clearly - not everyone has enough, but most of us have more than enough. So, amongst all the Beggars and Street Sleepers and Food Banks, the rest of us are arguing about our greed.
Whether you are a proponent of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman or more John Maynard Keynes - Democracy and Capitalism are not perfect but I have not seen a better solution to how we all live together.
Perhaps our priorities have changed - the things we take for granted and the items we consider to be essential are perhaps a little out of kilter?
I am I suppose pretty conservative and I believe in democracy and capitalism. I am not a fan of socialism because in the long term I have seen how it wrecks peoples lives. Having said that I think socialism has moved our society forward in ways that were so very necessary.
The big flaw of socialism is that it is conflicted. Socialists try to do good but love spending money (someone else's money) on all sorts of worthy projects and some not so worthy - but they love spending in a very unaccountable way. What they are pretty useless at is earning and they seem simply not to have any understanding or grasp of economics. Consequently, whenever the UK has a socialist government, when it leaves office the country is left bankrupt.
Money does not just appear, it has to be earned. And earning a living and creating wealth are utterly different.
I believe passionately in helping those who are unable to help themselves or those who have fallen on hard times and need a hand up. I believe in a safety net to catch people when they are vulnerable but I vehemently oppose paying people to do nothing. I am against taking responsibility away from people. The state is not the answer to all the ills of individuals and cannot possibly be. There has to be a level of self-responsibility. And it is governments responsibility to get this balance right. This may require a bit of tough love but equally, kindness, empathy and understanding.
There was a great 'cockney' actor called Bob Hosking, who played many leading and supporting roles in big movies, notably, 'The Long Good Friday' and many other besides - but we all frequently heard his gravely cockney voice here in the UK because he narrated an advert for a telephone company and it always finished with - "It's good to talk"!
It is good to talk but the major part of any conversation is being able to listen and perhaps listening is even more vital - as in seeing and sensing and understanding and then determining, deciding and doing. Doing what is the right thing to do. Not the self-serving thing or the action of prejudicial fear or even the popular thing, but rather the right thing.
I keep banging on about this, but our lawmakers are in fact our leaders - they are meant to lead and by example - they are supposed to be Lions - not Sheep. They are meant to have a good set of values, or as Congressman Eligia Cummings put it so adroitly; Decency is what is needed in our leaders. We expect that and have every right to do so. That - and imagination, a cause, a dream, something bigger than ourselves to work towards. Not just ourselves but for the betterment of mankind and Animal kind - our Planet - hence the Paris agreement and other causes that benefit all.
We need common sense leadership - from a leader who is trustworthy, who is decent, who has been forged in the furnace of life - who has actually worked outside politics, who really understands that each and every single one of us is fighting our own battles, and we, at least most of us, are trying really hard.
We really do deserve better than we have. But we are lucky, because that of course, is down to us.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 11th March - 2019