Many Bosses, Precious Few Leaders

It’s something I say all the time when opining on the lack of a Churchill presence in our political world. There is a degenerative effect to such a void, and its chasm is a generational bumper sticker whose ugly residue can’t be chiseled off so easily.

Truth of the matter is, we’ve been finding our leaders on a micro level ever since Camelot was ambushed in Dealey Plaza. From Martin Luther King to Bobby Kennedy, the Beatles to Elvis, Harvey Milk to Hank Aaron to Hawking to Bono. The commonality in these names and all the others who’ve floated our rudderless boat over the past half century is that none of them resided in the Oval Office.

Leadership on a macro level has been usurped by scandal, attrition, Hollywood and every other man made disaster known to Henry Cabot’s log. Leadership from the very top of the Beltway became a trivial pursuit question the moment Nixon became Tricky Dick. And no matter the conservative revolution of Reagan or Boomer Clinton refurbishing a tired standard, or even the cultural significance of Obama. We turned these men into caricatures thirty seconds after their close up.

Is our current state of shit storm a self fulfilling prophecy? Is it the result of us having collectively thrown up our hands after Kennedy was stolen and Nixon was found to be a paranoid crook? Did we forget to cancel our subscription to the Zeitgeist after the failed leadership that turned Vietnam into a verb in perpetuity? Did we never mind the details for too long a time because iconic stimulation was a much more palatable cup of Joe?

Since then, the electorate has behaved like the baseball manager who keeps going to his bullpen until he finds the pitcher who fucks the whole thing up. Trump has been warming up in the bullpen for a long time. And now I have to wonder if this period in our history will make us smarter and more discerning of the process. Or will the idea that Trump could game the system and win polarize us even further?

I hope to hell it’s the former. I hope it has occurred to us that Trump is what happens when we refuse to build consensus. 2016 is what happens when the need to be right prevails over getting it right. We get a President who is a meme master, but who couldn’t lead us out of a wet paper bag.

It’s time to wise up or quit bitching. We can’t have both.

















86 thoughts on “Many Bosses, Precious Few Leaders

  1. B,

    Once again, you have strung together a bunch of words to create phrases that flow. Not only that, what you write is smart and true.

    Have you noticed this pitiful political phenomenon is not limited to the United States of America? Have you taken a look at the world leaders out there? We have a quasi-worldwide (I can’t put ALL the leaders into this basket) disease that has spread into epidemic proportions.

    We have created the rats that have spread the plague. It’s too late to inoculate once you’ve caught it but we bloody well better start for the next round.

    So like you, Imma hope for your idea that we are going to get smarter after this…

    To finding the real leaders,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s an interesting topic. For me, I would vote for Obama every four years for the rest of my life if I could. He was a leader — well, at least for the first six years or so. It seemed he lost a little bit of that in his final two years as he raced to legacy-building things that moved him too far to the left. But, still, he was the absolute best person for the job for those eight years and you look at how he was treated by the other side and by the media.

    I think there is truth to the theory that our system has become so daunting, so invasive, so perverse, that good people simply won’t put themselves through it. As 24/7 news channels developed (what? about 30 years ago?), and then the internet, and social media, there simply is no word spoken, no thought formed, no action taken that isn’t subject to 85 layers of inspection and analysis. It has become impossible for people who hold public office to have private lives, to make mistakes, to learn as they go. Why would a good person who could be a great leader put themselves through this?

    I was having a conversation with a co-worker about the age of our “leading” politicians — Trump, Pelosi, Feinstein — and the age of some of the potential 2020 candidates — Biden, Sanders, et al — and it just amazes me that they still want to do this at their age. The only thing we could agree on is that they are suckers for power for power’s sake. A leader isn’t, but because of that, a leader looks at the circumstances of our current political system and says “Nah. I got better things to do.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true!

      You’ve often talked about a third party and how such a thing happens. Is it possible, can it gain the necessary traction. I think something HAS to give. The system is experiencing a unique upheaval, so why not now? If ever there was a time. And then of course, the question becomes . . . who?

      Seriously, who in the blessed hell WOULD want to take all of that on?

      Liked by 2 people

    • We, north of the border, really liked Obama, too. Yes, the last two years were maybe not his best – I guess it is difficult to NOT succumb to that legacy stuff – especially when you are constantly being harpooned by all and sundry.

      I honestly wonder why anyone would want to put themselves through 24/7 invasion that life becomes.

      They do it coz they are close to death anyway!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. We all deserve Trump. We allowed our elected representatives to spend full-time careers as purveyors of bull shit. We honored people like Hillary Clinton who should be in jail. We stood by as the politically correct walked among us and bashed away honest conversation. We turned to the instantaneous gratification of so-called social media as opposed to holding newsmakers accountable for what they do and say. In short, we abandoned the idea of getting involved to make things better. Your post was over the top good, Marc. I suspect society will continue to wring its hands and blame our Chief Clown for all the problems. This is an easy way out.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just reread this, and love the word rudderless. KInda says it all. And I love that you mentioned Bobby, a true hero of mine. It’s a pity the likes of him were not here now. He’s stand up to the gold-plated powers that be demanding action for the betterment of the people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My dear friend,
    As always, I am impressed as hell, by the way in which you are able to string words together. This one, indeed, was especially remarkable, in the true sense of the word. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great last line. If this period in our history makes us smarter then maybe it’ll be worth it, unless there is irreparable damage, then maybe it will be, as you suggested all worth it. But I don’t think we’re smart enough yet and there are those who will feast on that understanding. Already have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • George,

      It used to be that our leaders provided a visionary perspective whose lens saw futures we couldn’t even imagine. It seems less so today, as if the immediacy of a perpetual news cycle has shackled the visionaries, like a political parking boot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The news cycles are certainly a factor but I think power and greed has also distorted their perspectives. You’d think concern for the future of their children/grandchildren would be a consideration. But it doesn’t seem that way.

        Liked by 1 person

        • By that I mean, there is no ‘long game’ perspective by which, as you point out, future generations are considered. Everything is in the here and now with little to no concern for the bill they leave behind. Sadly.

          Liked by 1 person

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