Monday, September 29, 2008

Financial Bailout defeat in Congress - A Cowardly Lack of Leadership

For many years, I refused to delve into politics or economics for that matter as I did not want such issues to alienate people from the message of the Kingdom. Times have changed and the need for voices is urgent. Such voices are not coming from congress.

In a move that is pure politics, house members on both sides of the aisle ignored reality and listened to the panic of their constituents. Such caving to public outcry is not leadership.

David Brooks says it well, in his Nihilist Revolt editorial in the NYT:

They (congress) have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed.

showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing.

What we need in this situation is authority.

The American century was created by American leadership, which is scarcer than credit just about now.

What has happened is "chickens coming home to roost". The republicans and some liberal democrats have such disdain for government that they refuse to lead with government action. The following are elements of this total inability to lead:
1. Ideology. We have seen the fruit of ideology in the Bush administration. Ideology is the stubborn adherence to ideals without regard to the changes in situations and circumstances. This is not a time for conservative ideals. What is needed is pragmatism and nuance.
2. Politics. When acting in a crisis one must let the facts and our reason guide us and public opinion must be ignored. Such political expediency transcends party affiliation. Such are our times.
3. Anti-intellectualism: As I listen to the naysayers of government action, I am appalled by the lack of depth and both presidential candidates are not helping the discussion. Where is Robert Rubin? Where is Robert Reich? We need students of history to solve difficult problems like those we face today. In the dialogue, there is no substance. Such depth what really amounts to wisdom is the product of a life of strenuous study of policy and governance. Unfortunately, the public no longer trusts intellectuals so they place "one of our own" in office. That's fine if there is no need to solve a difficult problem. Now the chickens have come home to roost.

We must question ourselves as to whether this is the first major blow to the head of American leadership in the world. It is time we begin placing in leadership both in the church and the state leaders who are equipped intellectually to look the facts in the face and take pragmatic and effectual action.


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