The Experience Factor
At the upcoming intra-party and public office elections, we have some clear choices to make between the tiresome “Go along to get along” candidates and the “Get it right, get it done” candidates. In this election year with our liberty on the line, we have to “Get it right and get it done”! Obama must go, and we must flip the U.S. Senate, and improve our position in the House of Representatives. We can only get those things done if we have experienced leaders. There is no time for “On the Job Training”. There is no room for excuses, since “Excuses are the nails that build the house of failure”.
Every day of the week, employers, Boards of Trustees, government agencies, and anyone or group charged with hiring or electing someone to a position has to face “the experience factor.” In order to discharge that duty responsibly they must ensure that their choice is the best one for the position at hand. The natural choice is someone with past experience in the tasks and issues that will be needed to fill the responsibilities required by the position. This is especially true for leadership positions where the experience level required runs into years, and even decades.
Leaders, to be truly effective, must understand the rules, regulations, issues and pitfalls that the organization will face. They must be able to lead by example and the best example is having a solid history of completing the tasks that the job will require, and exhibiting not only the knowledge, energy, commitment and dedication needed, but also to have the integrity and honor necessary to lead others through what is often the murky waters of the political arena.
We have seen what can happen when our leaders are not vetted fully or if we ignore facts in favor of “celebrity.” We only have to look as far as the current occupant of the White House and the failed policies that have driven America into a downward spiral both financially and morally.
Too often in the political world we have our candidates chosen by the current “establishment” instead of coming from the rank and file. They pick them (folks who will mirror the status quo ideology and will provide maximum political cover, right or wrong) then we are supposed to elect them. Some may ask, what is wrong with that picture? Well then they must be happy with the current direction of the country. Many others of us feel that “crony politics” is exactly what’s standing in the way of getting the economy going, creating more jobs and reversing course on some of the most crippling and devastating legislation and regulations that have come forth since the founding of our country.
I am not saying that all establishment picks are bad, of course not. There are many good candidates out there that even the establishment likes. I am saying that “We the people”, the citizens must understand that what troubles our nation politically at every level from party politics to the municipal, state and federal offices is not entirely the fault of the politicians. It is shared by the citizens. It is our fault, also. We have abdicated our authority, indeed our duty as citizens all too often, for the sake of expediency or to “go along to get along”. We have a duty to not follow blindly, but to, with eyes and ears open, make conscious decisions in choosing who is best to lead.
Thomas Jefferson reminded us that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”, while James Madison revealed where we should be most vigilant; “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” Political cronyism is the anathema of freedom, for it puts the well being and ambition of the politicians ahead of the best interests of the citizens they are supposed to represent. The citizens have more of a duty than to just vote and elect representatives, they must remain ever vigilant and hold those they elect accountable to do what they promised; to represent honorably the principles and ideals that won them office.
Jefferson also understood the need to act whenever our leaders begin moving toward tyranny when he said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” This was meant in the literal and the rhetorical sense. More often in the rhetorical sense, patriots (including elected officials) must be willing to sacrifice political comfort and ambition for the good of the citizens or the party by shining a light on tyrannical behavior that threatens our liberty, thereby revealing the wrongs and purging such behavior from leadership. The people must remain the source of power that enables the government; the source of integrity and virtue, for if once that table turns and power is relinquished, with it goes all hope for continued liberty.
In choosing leaders, there is no substitute for experience, whether it is past experience in doing the tasks that will be necessary, experience of leadership in the specific job area, experience in handling likely challenges or the experience of the citizens in witnessing the integrity and character of our would be leaders first hand. Experience gained through the test of time is most critical when we are in times like these that test our mettle and our very liberty is threatened.
We are about to face the most intense, most demanding, and most important electoral battle of our lifetimes. It would be unconscionable to not elect party leaders who have withstood the trials and tribulations of past battles and who have been tested under fire. Party leaders who have proven themselves repeatedly and can guide us through this impending onslaught without hesitation and with character, integrity and honor. We need leaders who will deliver on their promises, not more empty rhetoric.
It is time the Conservatives and Republicans get the transparency, integrity, leadership and experience they have been promised in the past and so desperately need today, especially going into the most critical election cycle of our lifetimes. Say “no” to more empty rhetoric and flashy palm cards. Vote “yes” for experience, integrity and commitment.
We don’t need rock stars; we need leaders with the credentials and character to lead the party to victory and our Country to a higher plain. Please choose wisely in the upcoming intra-party, primaries and general elections. Your futures and that of our country are at stake.
Copyright 2012, Thomas J. Whitmore