On Leadership

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Leaders treat people the way they want to be treated

Leaders build themselves up by building up others

Leaders surround themselves with the best people

Leaders give the team credit for success, and place failure on themselves

Leaders are not afraid to take risks and make mistakes

Leaders are aware of their leadership style and learn how their style comes across to their team

Leaders are effective communicators

Leaders respect others

Leaders care about the people involved

Leaders are honest and demonstrate integrity

Leaders are able to get people engaged and leverage the strength of others

Leaders empower people

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Leaders building competencies and focus on the right things

Leaders are able to tolerate frustration and stress

Leaders deliver results

Leaders are active, expressive, optimistic, and energetic

Leaders have a sense of duty and carry a high standard of excellence

Leaders are thick-skinned

Leaders are practical, logical, and to-the-point, yet flexible and open to change

Leaders are secure – no need to seek approval

Leaders are socially aware and careful in their social interactions

Leaders envision the future and convince others and lead them in a new direction

Leaders are alert and focused

This man is not a leader

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On an Electoral Reflection

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This idea has festered in my mind long enough, so it’s time to get these thoughts of this true independent’s chest.

For about 5 weeks following the November 2016 election, a good thing happened. We heard a lot about the Electoral College – a system we learned about in school – a system we hear about every 4 years – a system many people know little about – let alone Federalist Paper No. 68 (and I say that with confidence).

Election 2016 was interesting in many ways. It was not only the third time in US history the candidate who won the presidency lost the popular vote, but 2016 marked the highest vote differential of the three (0.8%, 0.5%, 2.8%). What if Mr. Trump won the popular vote by 2.8% but Mrs. Clinton won the Electoral College? Surely the messages would be predictably reversed.

Since the election, we heard some voices declaring that it’s time to amend the Constitution to disband the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote. The losers were the complainers while the winners boosted about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.

Framing the US Constitution was not a meeting of wise men stroking their beards while contemplating decisions for a document to serve as the foundation of a new country. Discussions were fierce. Egos were bruised. Not every person got their way but, in the end, a collective wisdom prevailed – a wisdom guided by those seeking what would serve the common good for all and for a nation.

Although small states and slave states had issues with the popular vote, the Founding Fathers were skeptical about the voters especially if the popular vote yielded an unwise decision. So, the Founding Fathers wanted a system to act as a check-and-balance on the voters. After all, the Constitution provided of system of checks and balances within the government. The Electoral College was a way to do so other than using state legislatures or the House of Representatives.

In Federalist Paper No. 68, Alexander Hamilton explained the Electoral College was to, “ensure that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The best analogy I heard was the Electoral College being akin to a judge reviewing a jury’s decision (which they can do).

Was 2016 the time Alexander Hamilton had in mind? Maybe.

Is the Electoral College’s role as a check-and-balance against the people’s vote necessary in the 21st Century? Absolutely, so I unquestionably stand with the wisdom of the Founding Fathers supporting the existence of the Electoral College.

The Founding Fathers envisioned the Electoral College to be composed of people “selected by their fellow citizens from the general masses, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

The Founding Fathers also envisioned the members of the Electoral College to do the right thing. To be of independent mind in the face of adversity. To represent a nation, and then fulfill their Constitutional responsibility by doing what is right for the nation.

If it’s not the voters, not the Constitution, not the concept of the Electoral College, is there a problem? If so, where?

The problem obviously lies is the implementation because the Constitution left the selection process to the states, which would be state legislatures that are elected by the people. Although practical on paper, the adopted methods by the states are not the way to implement the desires stated Federalist Paper No. 68. States developed processes based on the political parties – therefore the political parties hijacked the check and balance to have a system that favors them.

Who picks the electors? The political parties.

Who do the political parties select? Loyalists, local party leaders, local officials, donors,etc.

If each party in a state has electors, who has the final vote? In most states, the party of the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in that state become the electors.

Can electors change their mind, thus go against the state’s result? In some states, yes – but in most states, No! Electors who do not follow their prescribed vote may face fines, legal charges, dismissal, and/or replacement.

Are these electors the ones “most likely to possess the information and requisite for such a complicated investigation” and “free from any sinister bias”?

Absolutely not! The electors are party hacks put in place by the party hooligans to follow the party’s self interest – NOT for the people and NOT for a nation as the Federalist Paper clearly explains. The electors are present for the party under the ruse of acting for the nation. The Electoral College is not even remotely close to what the Founding Fathers envisioned for the nation and its people.

The parties are interested in themselves. The parties are interested in adopting their preferences upon the people. The parties only see the world through a biased lens with the settings they prefer. In other words, the parties are not the unbiased, high-minded people who will look out after the best interest of a nation if and when the people make a mistake!

In the farewell address of this nation’s first president, George Washington was correct.

[Political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

George Washington
Saturday, September 17, 1796

Abolition of the Electoral College is not the answer. Giving power the popular vote is not the answer. Reforming the Electoral College process is the answer, but there is a problem because that requires those with power would have to relinquish the power – and we know that’s not going to happen.

On a Worthy Read

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Walls can surround to keep something out. Walls can also surround to keep something in. Either way, walls divide. Walls are barriers – and barriers can come in different forms.

Rick Steves is a respected travel guru in the U.S. – especially specializing in Europe. His shows and books are very well done, and one we appreciate for our travels. We have not taken any of his tours, but everyone that I know who has rave about them.

A new American president has made quite a splash in the news. Although he states his desire to be a president for all, his actions do not support his statement. After all, actions are more powerful than words – or as I like to say, behaviors and actions demonstrate one’s true value.

Rick Steves has a perspective about building a wall and actions that act like a wall. To me, this is a worthy and powerful read. Click here to read it.

 

 

On Inauguration 2017

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Because Inauguration Day of a new president coincides with my normal posting of Opinions in the Shorts, I decided to forego my normal OITS for a posting that is fitting for the day.

In a short moment of time, Barack Obama goes from the one with the title to a former occupant of the Oval Office. My view of President Obama is different from the many who follow partisan lines. At this moment I want to thank him for his service. Thank him for the way he handled himself in representing our nation. Thank him for the way he carried the extra burden of being the first non-white to serve in the most powerful office in the land. Thank him for taking us from where we were in January 20, 2009 to today. (A good read in USA Today.)

Inauguration Day marks the peaceful transition from one president to the next. A transition that is different than most of the world. A transition that is also an American tradition. A transition that is a light by the American version of democracy.

I enjoyed this 4-minute interesting perspective of past inaugurals done by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan for CBS News.

Presidents need a strong sense of humility – that is something Mr. Trump has yet to show on the campaign trail or in the time since Election Day.

Presidents describe in various ways in their inaugural speech their desire to be a president for all Americans. That trait alone require respect, something Mr. Trump continues to ignore.

Presidents need to be responsible for their actions and decisions. Of course politicians tend to step around problems – blame elsewhere. After all, finger-pointing is much easier. Mr. Trump has failed on many occasions to take responsibility for his own actions and words – thus continually favoring the low road of blame through insults.

Presidents respect the traditions of the land and the office. Mr. Trump regularly favors his way while damning those who think otherwise. Meanwhile the majority of the elected partisan minions we call Senators and Representatives are quiet as they revel in the glory of total control. Time will tell if they continue doing the same.

Presidents respect the nation’s laws and Constitutional requirements. Again, Mr. Trump favors his way of doing things. He says he can separate his business and the presidency. He actually believes he could successfully run both simultaneously. Conflicts of interest could very well be on the horizon, but time will tell.

Maybe if he changes his tone, practices humility, becomes respectful, and operates within the given framework, he may have successes – successes for the country. Besides, Washington is ripe for change – but his previous behaviors indicate this would be a tall order to fulfill.

Being a brilliant orator is not a presidential requirement, but those that were can frame a message by their tone. Mr. Trump is anything but a brilliant orator as he struggles delivering prepared statements – so I certainly don’t expect anything memorable for me. Perhaps he may surprise us with a start that includes a series of apologies to set a tone. Given his personality, the chances of that would be between slim and none.

Although I wish Mr. Trump success on this day, I won’t be watching the pomp and circumstances or listening to his first speech. I’m not boycotting as I simply have something else to do – something that I would rather do.

On an Idea for Great Again

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Dear President-Elect Trump,

I’ve never written a president or a president-elect, but once I discovered I can submit my ideas on GreatAgain.gov, I just had to write my suggestion.

I’m approaching 64 years old, so I’m relying on my experience. While I was growing up in a small town in rural Appalachian Ohio, all the parents of my friends were working. In that same area today, jobs are difficult to find. Here’s an idea to help make America great again.

Not only should we abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), let’s repeal all (if not most) of the environmental laws Congress has passed since the late 1960s. After all, even in rural Ohio, I had clean air to breathe and clean water to drink when I was a kid before the EPA even existed.

For three summers during my college years, I worked at one of 4 coal-burning power plants in my area. Since those days, driving past the same plant I have noticed the facility is more than twice the size because the EPA required the facility to add so much anti-pollution controls. Today, not only has one of the four plants closed, so has the large coal mine located in the area.

Other industrial facilities have either closed or downsized. If you abolished the EPA and the environmental laws;

  • A layer of corruption and overreach in government would be gone
  • Cost to businesses and people decrease
  • Jobs would return to not only my home area, but across the country
  • Local businesses would thrive again because people would have more money to spend
  • Walmart will become accessible to more people because more stores will be built in new areas – stores that put people to work and all people to spend
  • The Constitution’s intent of state’s rights would be preserved, so if states like California want their own environmental rules, they can have so they can send jobs to Mexico or other countries
  • … besides, climate change is a hoax so we don’t need an EPA

I know businesses have the best interest of people, so they won’t pollute the water, air, and soil. I know business leaders like the Koch brothers would much rather spend millions on growing their business instead of using that money for lobbying and political campaigns. Growing their businesses to put Americans to work so people can spend is the American way. We the people need to let these business giants, other owners, and entrepreneurs unleash their creative power to return America to its past glory.

Mr. Trump … please, please dismantle the EPA and remove the burden of environmental laws so our economy can grow and America can return to prosperity for everyone. I want to make sure I see that we take back what the Chinese have – something that I never had … and if this doesn’t work, it’s Obama’s fault.

Thanks for listening.

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On Wondering

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With Election Day 2016 in the rearview mirror, I sit on the edge of a canyon and stare into the vastness.

I see a divided nation separated by the canyon with steep wall … without a bridge, and no plan for a bridge, or even another bridge to nowhere … and I wonder …

I wonder about loud beating drums of the partisans as the yell and demand their self interests.

I wonder about the existence of common ground … and if it exists, can it be found?

I wonder if reconciliation is possible.

I wonder about the intersection of civility, grace, and humility with hate, sexism, bigotry, and disrespect

I wonder about if acceptance, respect, listening, and working together toward solution is possible.

I wonder about the similarities and differences between a President Trump and Candidate Trump.

I wonder if Republicans can govern and the response by the Democrats as they move left.

I wonder about the messages from the voices that aren’t heard.

I wonder about the solutions that favor one side or the other, the solutions that are a blend of both, and the solutions that are outside the framework of all partisans.

I wonder how a President Trump will deal with his worst enemy – himself.

I wonder if  the intent of “unifying” actually means just follow.

I wonder about the effects of one-party rule during tumultuous times.

I wonder if civility is a shared value.

I wonder how long Trump supporters will continue to give him a free pass because “not her” isn’t a good excuse.

I wonder who really cares and why.

I wonder about the uneasy feeling within me about the future.

I wonder about a changing world that is changing more rapidly than ever.

I simply wonder.

On the Aftermath

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It’s over … finally …. the longest campaign season in history is finally over! Below is a collection of immediate thoughts.

I never thought Donald Trump would get the nomination, let alone win … but he did. I not only accept the results, I accept the fact that I missed it on both counts.

Although I’m surprised he won, I’m not surprised she lost.

Yesterday I told a friend that if we knew before 10 pm, it would be an easy victory for Mrs. Clinton … but the longer it went into the night, advantage Mr. Trump … and about 9 pm I knew she was in trouble.

Her not speaking to supporters with a concession speech bothers me … and for some reason, I’m not surprised.

I took heat from a few partisans for my hope of divided government. Because they preferred all or nothing, a side of me is now smiling.

The Republican-led Senate proclaimed the Biden Rule regarding the Supreme Court vacancy, but now I don’t expect them to follow it.

The results do make me wonder about many things. I will continue to ponder, and time will tell what happens. After all, over-reaction is seldom a good idea.

Because the election is rigged, will he immediately step down? … Hey … someone had to ask! 🙂

I’ve always believed that the USA and its framework is stronger than any one person.

I’ve said on many occasions that if the president is successful, then the country is successful. Although I didn’t vote for him and casted a vote much more against him (than for her), I wish him well with hopes he governs toward the center. Although I expect to disagree with some (maybe even many) of his decisions and many (if not most) actions by the Republican Congress, it’s time to move on.

I’m extremely thankful for the end of the political ads! … and besides (as I can’t resist) all this is Obama’s fault. 😉