By Bonnie Weber
There has always been greed, hostility and lack of concern for others. Even in our own country fragmentation has resulted; there is black vs white, citizen vs immigrant, old vs young, Republican vs Democrat, poor vs wealthy.
And personally, as we are pulled in different directions, one sometimes wonders who they are seeing in their mirror. Here leadership can make all the difference—either bringing out the best in us—or the worst in us.
Leaders help define what goals we hold in common such as, most obviously, survival as a human race. A good leader sees the self-destructive components and he or she humbly assesses and works to apply remedies. For instance, most people could agree we need to deal with these problems: pandemics and healthcare, drug abuse, crime and justice, climate change, refugees, famine, and white supremacy.
The leadership role involves publicly clarifying these problems, communicating remedies as “Our Goals,” and motivating maximum involvement toward the defined ends. Some leaders I’ve admired are Angela Merkel for her work in the merging of a fractured East-West Germany, and Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. for their leadership in advancing human rights. Each leader had to chart a path through the wilderness that initially had no clear definition, while bringing their people with them as best they could. That’s what leaders do. And please note—leaders are not always men.
Our country badly needs a talented leader right now. We as citizens have a responsibility to think of ends beyond our selfish selves. We need to join with each other in spite of our disagreements to address our common problems. We cannot just “unfriend” our fellow countrywomen and men that we disagree with and hope they disappear. We need to think of our country with a salad bowl metaphor and use ALL of our talents regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. We need to assume our responsibility as citizens of the world again. The world is watching and still hoping we can find solutions without destroying our democracy.
Bonnie Weber of Dundee has been Director of Monroe’s residential substance abuse services, initiating Director of the domestic violence services, and has supervised various programs at Monroe’s Community Mental Health Authority. She wrote this as a member of Monroe’s Stronger Together Huddle.