Sunday, September 14, 2008


Normally I don't think much about politics, but I do try to read something everyday, both about happenings in our country and in the world. In election years however, I can't help but let my thoughts wander toward the political process.

Today I've been thinking about the "dirt" that is being dug up on Sarah Palin. Apparently a bunch of Democrats were sent to Alaska to investigate her, no doubt hoping to find something that would turn people off. Right away I knew that she's a true leader, and since the flip side of every strength is a weakness, I presumed she had enemies, much like George W. Bush does. Leaders are type "D", according to my book Different Children, Different Needs, by Charles Boyd. They have the following characteristics:

High self-confidence
Direct, straightforward

"They are independent doers, thinkers. They make decisions quickly and easily. They are risk takers and adventure seekers. Physically tough, they stand up to anyone who tries to take advantage of them. They are ambitious and goal-oriented. They take a practical, pragmatic approach to accomplishing their objectives. They do what is necessary to get the job done. They tend to be easily angered and become impatient when their goals are blocked and potential results are jeopardized. They aggressively take charge and enjoy giving orders. Theirs is an "I lead, you follow", "My way or the highway" approach to life. They expect everyone to understand that they are in charge and that their authority is to be respected. They assert themselves physically and often participate in sports. They must be challenged, or they will be bored. They are not easily discouraged and refuse to give up. Because they tend to be quick decision-makers, they frequently instigate new rules or procedures and often do so without consulting those who are affected by the changes. They communicate directly and to the point. Others may view them as blunt, tactless, harsh, or insensitive. Also, they prefer direct communication. They want to hear the bottom line rather than a long-winded story or a detailed explanation." Boyd, 1994

Should we be surprised that Sarah has fired people and has an administration that values secrecy and loyalty? After all, leaders have to be lonely people. They can be popular, but they probably don't have a lot of friends, so the loyalty of a few feels life-saving to them at times. I trust a leader who loves God more than one who doesn't. With God as a friend, leader types are less likely to self-destruct. I once heard George W. Bush say that it was harder to be the SON of the president, than it was to BE president. He has held up, even though he was called to lead in some of the most difficult years we've seen. He doesn't need people to like him or to approve of him. While I think he has made mistakes, like all presidents do, I admire him for leading. It's a lonely road and few can do it. And even fewer can do it with humor.

I think the Democratic Party had a leader in Hillary Clinton, but because Obama was (is) so intoxicating to those who love rhetoric (the media, for one, since they live and breathe words, like writers do), they underestimated Hillary and the need for a leader, rather than an idea person. Idea people are wonderful and absolutely necessary, but they are not decisive. They lack a tough-as-nails personality and are better advising the president than being the president. Although I didn't agree with Hillary's social and moral bents and I wouldn't have voted for her, I do think she could have led - really led. I can't help but feel sorry for her, and if the Republicans win, I will feel sorry for all those who so want a Democrat in the White House. My mother is one of them, being a staunch Democrat. I never talk politics with her (even though she throws out a lot of nasty-like bait). Because my sister and I are Republicans, she barely spoke to us for a few months after Bush was elected the second time. I also remember a few hateful e-mails. That's an example of how deep the divide is in our country right now.

I think mostly, it's war that has come between Americans. Some believe we have a responsibility to people all over the world whose hearts yearn for freedom, and others think we have enough problems of our own. Those who think we have enough problems of our own hate that we are now so disliked in the world. If we lead - really lead - we are going to be disliked. That's inevitable.

And though some who went to Iraq hate what the invasion stood for, many others whom we seldom hear from unless we read conservative media, feel honored to have served in the name of freedom. Many parents who lost beloved sons feel their sons died with honor and for an honorable cause. Freedom is priceless to some. Hopefully those who value it less will at least welcome our fighters home with open arms. And have thankful hearts and words for them and for their families.

One thing is for sure - the money has run out. The hand we may want to extend to countries who yearn for freedom will have to be padded with money from other freedom-loving countries. The hardest thing for a leader to do is accept help and deal with the compromises that entails. That was perhaps George Bush's downfall.

McCain is a different man, though still a leader. The grace and confidence with which he has handled the rising star standing next to him (Sarah), leads me to believe he can extend his hand for help when necessary. She is perhaps a stronger leader than he is and if he's not threatened by that, that's a good thing. That conveys he's perhaps a balanced person. Balance is crucial and it's what makes our country work. It's also why we need Republicans and Democrats and Independents to keep challenging each other.

I do hope that in some future year, the country will be healed enough to say thank you to George W. Bush. The last eight years have been hell. They've been more than any president bargains for. He deserves an honorable discharge. He's a flawed man, but a courageous one nonetheless.

1 comment:

Evenspor said...

Interesting thoughts. I like the way you put them all together.

Your last comment about McCain reminded me of one thing I do like about him. When he said in his speech that he would put together a group of advisers with varying backgrounds and political stances, I can really believe it. He has shown that he's willing to work with and listen to people on both ends of the political spectrum. That's an openmindedness that most people seem lack.