Defining Strong Leadership

Mar 25, 2019

If we are to understand anything from the slaughter of innocents at Christchurch, New Zealand, it is that the madness that haunts this Earth now is not limited to one religion or one ideology.

It is a pandemic spread by a virus created in the minds of men that propagates hate, insanity and rage. It is a virus that seemingly has no cure, one that divides us against one another at a time when the conditions of our planet require us to work together, rather than against one another.

Yet, there is a cure and that cure is called leadership. It is no coincidence that we see so many manifestations of hate at the same time we see such little global leadership and so many seemingly willing to exploit our differences for the sake of individual gain, politically or financially.

One is not a leader by virtue of a position, appointed, elected or appropriated. A person can have power but not necessarily be a leader. A leader of a nation is one who works for the greater good of a nation, and who is willing to sacrifice his own ambitions and desires for the sake of the national and international good.

A man with power may have subjects he can command by strength or fear, but a leader has followers, those who are willing to share in building the common good of a community, a nation or a planet. A leader is a man of vision, not division.

A leader inspires us to work together. Right now, we have too many powerful men and too few leaders who can bring people together, but the fact is that we need leadership at every level of society now. No country is exempt from this need.

The words a leader uses are important, not because they are necessarily eternal, but because they set the tone of those he leads or desires to lead. Words that appeal to our fears and not our hopes will only bring out manifestations of those fears in the form of hatred and violence, and we already have too much of both in the world today. We cannot allow this to continue if we are to survive as a civilization.

In this world of simple, facile communication and immediate gratification through social media, it is too easy to express poorly considered thoughts that make us feel good in the short term but create long term wounds and misunderstandings that have far more serious consequences. The civil discourse must be of greater depth, not simply because it is the polite thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do. We should not respond so quickly to the anger of others, but seek to understand the basis of that anger, and in so doing we can see more easily the solutions to the ending that anger.

In the case of Christchurch, Las Vegas or Paris the problem does not end with the capture and imprisonment or execution of the perpetrator. The beliefs that led to their actions are shared by many others. We need to understand the roots of the madness, for it was indeed madness. The perpetrators may never be released, but we cannot create martyrs for others to emulate. We need to listen to the pain and indigntion of all concerned, and from there move forward towards a greater and more united society.