The Problem With Irrational Leadership And Why It’s Our Own Fault

LeadersI know. I gathered an audience through “devotionals.” To be entirely honest, I do intend to continue writing and posting thoughts on faith and life. But at the same time, the recent developments in my life have led me toward new and previously unrealized horizons. I do not know that I will ever personally become a “politician” but I do feel a very urgent and deliberate calling to learn as much as I can about the political arena. As a result, some of my blogs will begin to explore political issues as I begin to develop this present calling. This is another of those blogs…

To begin today’s discussion we need to examine two different sociological approaches to political leadership:

  • Rational – This school of thought believes that people make their choices based on rational thought. In other words, people have real reasons for their choices, their words, and their behavior. Now, the underlying logic might not always be apparent to the casual observer, but it is very real to the individual making the choice. People know what they want in life and they make rational choices based on those longings/interests. For the politician who embraces this rational school of political philosophy, the goal becomes logical policy decisions and rational debates in the public forum. Politicians present facts, explain possible alternative consequences, and seek to intelligently persuade constituents to make an informed decision.
  • Irrational – In contrast to the rational, this school of thought is based on the thought that people are neither logical nor reasonable. Much like wild animals, people are driven by desires and wants, bound by impulse and emotion. For this politician, the key consideration is mass-appeal on an emotional, even charismatic, level. For them the emphasis is symbols rather than substance. They just keep feeding people based on their appetites. Things like truth take a back seat to perception. What is true is what I “feel” at any given moment.

Now, here is my point for today…

In recent decades the American populace in general has ceased to be rational. We no longer think through our decisions (much less the long-term consequences). We are angry. We are reactionary. We are impulsive. And we have become dangerously impatient. We want what we want… and we want it now. And in the aftermath, we continuously sacrifice long-term benefit and security for short-term gratification.

In the political arena we have become increasingly less-concerned with a candidate’s stand on the “issues.” Truth be known, most of us really have no idea what they personally believe or politically espouse. We have become blinded by sound bites and the 30-second video clip. We love symbols and have grown impatient with substance. Forget about such trivial concerns like character and leadership. Who cares as long as our candidate looks good on the TV? What difference does it make if they have questionable ethics so long as they have viral postings? Who cares if we have replaced real leadership with photogenic illusions?

The tragic result is that the rational masses become wearied by all the pompous parading that has become known as the political process. And in the end, these rational and reasonable people avoid the polls because they have become somehow convinced that neither their vote nor their voice matters. And so we forfeit the selection of our national leadership to the irrational. The irrational people choose our leaders and all the while we point the finger and complain. But the honest truth is that it’s our own fault. It holds true in life that, “You get what you tolerate.” We have irrational leaders because we abdicated the process to the irrational.

The time has come for rational and reasonable people to rise up. Now is not the time for excuses and apathy. Now is not the time for laziness and indifference. We must become concerned. We must become involved. We must begin to demand that our leaders as actually qualified to lead. Wealth is not a qualification. A charismatic persona is not a qualification. Prestige and fame are not qualifications. Our country desperately needs real leadership. Our choices have power… power to change this nation, power to shape the future, and power to guarantee hope for the next generation. But for that to happen. the rational need to stop acting like they are irrational. We have been given the ability to think. Now, we need to get involved.