“Where there is no vision, the people
perish.” Proverbs 29:18
We have a
year until the 2012 elections. The 2011 local and issue elections are less than
two weeks from now. Issues, candidates, parties and interested groups will all be
vying for your money, your time and your support. If you are a regular reader
of this column, you know that I believe principle, character and integrity are
vital elements for deciding whom or what to support in the political arena.
Those attributes refer to the candidates or the groups that are promoting
various issues. The final critical facet to be considered involves you….yes
you. What is your vision for your community, your state or our country? If you
possessed absolute power to remake everything, what would your perfect picture
chide or laud political leaders for visionary perspectives or lack of them.
George H. W. Bush didn’t think too highly of “that vision thing,” but he wasn’t
re-elected either. We desire the leader who has a firm vision for the future
but a clear pragmatic grasp of present reality. This is a rare combination
because we associate visionaries with inspiring rhetoric, big ideas and even
larger dreams. The pragmatic realist, on the other hand, rolls the shirt
sleeves and puts her head under the hood to torque, twist and tweak (a Ross
Perot flashback). Our schizophrenic desires seem to be for a grease monkey who’s
a gifted poet. The ideal leader may be out there somewhere, but the poet
generally doesn’t want to wade in the sludge of politics, and the idealistic
grease monkey doesn’t want to “waste” months or years trudging around the
nation, state or district trying to convince voters that he or she can “fix it.”
The doer wants to “do,” not talk about it.
As one of
the group of deciders (voters), it is your duty to design the template for the type
of leader that you wish to assume office. The pattern or “jig” should frame the
vision, and the internal cuts, miters and routing should identify the
principles, character and integrity of the candidates. It is your vision for the nation, the state
or the community that should define which candidate or issue you support. Nuts
and bolts, gears and shafts, bells and whistles are important elements for identifying
the important qualities for a potential leader, but the entire assembled powertrain
is needed for the vehicle to move forward.
imagine what our perfected 21st Century United States should be,
what role do you envision for the federal government? If you believe as I do
that it should be limited to the enumerated powers of the Constitution, try to
picture in your mind how we move from the sluggish invasive apparatus we have
now to the smoothly running structure you desire. Too often
constititutionalists have fallen for the slicksters who promise to deliver “smaller
government” but fail to clearly define what they mean. If you have the picture
or the template, then your questions for the candidate will expose her of his meaningless
assertions and promises for what they are. If you do not have the template, the ideal firmly chiseled into your mind,
the career politician or the eager opportunist is more likely to win your
support and ultimately disappoint you……again.
you might protest, that’s their job. They should share their visions so we can
thoughtfully weigh them. You may have a point, but we no longer live in the 18th
Century when our Founders and Framers debated what our future should be. Our
current crop of “statesmen” contains few philosophers and even fewer thinkers.
If you truly wish to preserve and restore the republic, you must contrast the
model for the present era and support only those who share your goals. As you
know so well, a person or a nation without a firm goal is condemned to wander
aimlessly. If the goal is defined and clear, the path to reach it becomes
clearer. If the politicians can deliver no more than lofty rhetoric and empty
phrases, the people are duty-bound to design the goal and choose the pathway.
assemble something new, the bright shiny parts are rather easy to place
together in an orderly fashion. We may make some mistakes in the process, but
we can quickly dismantle and reconstruct the item. Restoring and rebuilding is
usually much more difficult. Parts are greasy, rusted or worn. Tearing the old
piece apart is laborious and breaking critical components is a very real
possibility. Finding replacement parts may be nearly impossible so we’ll have
to build or machine new ones. Fortunately we have the manual as our reference.
We have The Constitution of the United States of America, and it is
almost brand new because it hasn’t been used very much in the past. Draft your
vision, build your dream, and perhaps….they will come.
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