My Response to SoonerDad3's "Obama the Monarch"
( Author's note: What started as a comment on an article called, "Obama the Monarch," by SoonerDad3 and was 1800 characters (and still not finished), I submit here as a 1300-word response to his article. )
* * * * * * * * *
I have mentioned in comments to you before that we may not always be in much disagreement in some of our political views. Our delivery of them is, most certainly, markedly different, as is how we deal with others who may hold opposing views.
I actually read much of what you write, either in your articles or in comment to others. Generally, I do not respond, because I am conflicted in how to do so, without appearing to be an ass. By the time I calm down, I choose to let sleeping dogs lie, as I know they will wake up again, and I will have an opportunity to respond at a later time in similar situations.
As many know, I am a veteran. I chose to serve this country years before I was old enough to take my oath of enlistment in summer 1973. When I joined it was not popular for me to do so as a woman or an American. We were still in Vietnam, and there was still a rather antiquated view of what roles women "should" take on. I am glad that I grew up on the west coast and not the south.
I joined because I believed that I owed my country and my fellow citizens something. I am one of approximately 8 percent of Americans who have done so.
I left the military, about the time President Clinton was in the limelight. So, I understand how one might have trouble calling someone "my President," as you do with President Obama. Whether or not ANY of them are deserving of one's respect is all a matter of perception, values, and beliefs. But any who will hold that office is THE President of the United States (POTUS).
When I took the oath of enlistment, I stated: "...I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...bear true faith and allegiance to the same...obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice..."
I took that oath five times. I have defended it many more times in my nearly 60 years here on this earth to many who disagreed with my decision to have served for the reasons I did so. I have also had to defend it to people who, on the surface value military service, take issue with my stance on other issues and have called me "un-American" for doing so.
Nowhere did I give ever allegiance to a king or a President. You see, I understand that allegiance is not to a man or woman. In fact, I served with my Commander-in-Chief(s) being people that I did not vote for and had very little confidence in their abilities to lead us into war, if need be.
Interestingly enough, those of us who serve in uniform, do not have the same right (as those not in service) to speak our minds about the behavior/decisions/ideas of the POTUS. You see, we (as military members) willingly make that sacrifice to make sure that you do not have your rights taken from you. At least, that is how many of us still saw it 40 years ago.
So, my oath was to defend the rights of people from all walks of life, educational backgrounds, intellect, opinions, gender, age, status, to have the same rights to express their opinions and have their beliefs that I do, whether you or I agree with them or not.
Now on to how we deal with politics and people...
Name-calling or disparaging remarks from either side of any argument is abhorrent to me. Lack of respect of others as human beings is equally so. And that is what I often see from people who are ignorant, or mean-spirited in order to hide what they either do not know. Others maybe be threatened that people will not acquiesce to their way of thinking. They respond with unyielding, black and white argument, unwilling to be willing. Often times, all it might take to get past the angst that ensues would simply be to listen and understand the others stance on an issue.
I have seen dogmatic unwillingness from Presidents and others who call themselves, "Leaders," and I have seen that in the common man (and woman) from all parts of the world, having lived in big cities, small towns, and overseas. And I have seen evidence of some of the same behaviors/words coming from you. What you accuse others of doing, certainly looks to be the same that you do to others.
You call issue to the current POTUS' "demonstrat(ing) lack of leadership" or "passing up chance after chance to work with (others) to get meaningful things done." You refer to him as being a "bully" and "divisive," rather than being "the uniter" [sic] . You accuse him of "ramming" his ideas/policies down the throats of others.
You even go as far to say about another man, "He gives off this air of superiority that borders on arrogance and makes him come across as condescending when speaking in public..." and as long as others are in agreement with the things he is doing/saying, things are " hunky dory."
I am not quite sure if you are talking about the current "reigning" President, or yourself as the "King-of-Having-All-the-Right-Answers."
I would hate to have willingly taken on the responsibility that it seems you have accepted. Being "the first in line to say, 'I told you so'," will put you in the position of others turning to you to now rule the world, as they know it. Those are pretty big shoes to fill.
Stephen Covey, in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," shares Step 5 as "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood". When we use an empathic listening style so that we can be genuinely influenced by someone, it encourages (or even compels) them to be equally as such and be open-minded to being influenced by you. It shows caring, and a willingness to work together positively toward finding solutions to any problem.
While I did not vote for President Obama either time, the lion's share of American people who voted did so. I disagreed with the way that the healthcare issues were "resolved," as I believe that, if we are going to get the government involved with being the provider, a single-payer system would have been the better option. I often sit and shake my head at some of the things that I hear coming from the mouths of that side of politics, but I do the same when I hear those leaders in the right wing of politics open their mouths.
A title does not make one a leader. I learned that when I served in the military--two branches. I also learned that just because one does not hold a title, does not mean that they hold no responsibility for their actions or their words, especially when they want to influence others to another way of looking at a situation.
So, if I may paraphrase your words, and add my own flavor, as it applies here in presenting our views, if we want others to consider being open to hear or consider our views:
A leader is not supposed to say only what others want her/him to say, s/he is to speak the truth, first by listening to the whole before making a sound and just argument, and also to consider others when philosophies are discussed. Only when s/he shows that there is willingness to do so, and not be dictatorial in presentation, will others take the arguments presented as having merit.
Whether speaking about THE President, A King, or ONE common woman/man, each has an opportunity to share ideas and show that of which they are made. Each of them (us) has an opportunity to influence others (good or bad).
But very few will ever truly understand what might make them A LEADER.
© Coral Levang, 2015
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/white-house-government-president-236844/ by revshanner