by Marion Marks
The National Stage
“You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Republican Presidential Primary “leaders” appear to have missed the lesson Commander in Chief Eisenhower and most former presidents expressed through actions. Yes, it was a different time, however the rationale of leadership has not moved so far to the dictatorial right as we have been led to to believe, and entertainment on the small screen still does not translate to world-stage statesmanship.
The crude and irreverent manner, lack of common manners, demonstrated by leading candidate Donald Trump demonstrates and translates to the clear disgust many voters have for those who have failed the test after election to public office. The translation of failure, fatigue and frustration of citizens gives the Trump strategy that has worked in the reality TV world a demonstrated presence with a large sector of the Republican primary constituents.
However, common decency we might expect from the next president, potentially from the Republican primary, lowers the bar for those who seek public office to the level of an Orwellian or Hunger Games brutality. The challenges and questions regarding candidate experience, personal values and family history indicate that no slight, question or dig is unacceptable, no challenge, rude interjection or interruption seems problematic, and displaying good manners is treated as a sign of weakness.
Donald Trump, by virtue of the power of his presence, claims the moral high ground and any who become a threat to his right is shouted down as “liars,” “cheaters,” “crooks” or “un-American.” After all, if it worked on his game show or reality TV, the translation to real politics is only a minor stretch of human imagination and a bit of a reality warp.
The Caddo Parish Stage
“Without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance..” — Eric Shinseki, General, US Army Retired
Warping reality seems to be the Caddo Commission policy translated to professional leadership in the executive’s chair of Dr. Woodrow Wilson as well as the Commission president, Matthew Linn. Both are struggling to communicate actions, intentions of leadership, and a history that is strewn with attempts to communicate good intentions or coverups. “Woody” translated his successful military career into organizing and codifying the disjointed state of government he found when he walked into the Caddo Commission administrator’s chair. However, successes of the past have also translated into choosing a personally rewarding domicile in Bossier over the spirit of the commissioners found in Ordinance 5375 that the key employees must also place their allegiance to a primary residence in Caddo Parish rather than a model apartment that is no more than a skirting mechanism around the intent of the commissioners.
As far as the allegiance of Wilson to taxpayers and citizens of Caddo, when Wilson was president of NLCOG, he permitted one of the most vital infrastructure projects, Highway 3132, to be derailed from the intended loop path, by essentially being either asleep at the wheel or falling prey to other’s influence. When the vote was taken to remove the completion path of 3132 toward LA Highway 1 and the Port, Wilson not only allowed the change, but failed to inform the Commission of the fate that this vote created for the parish.
After the 2014 federal code, (23 U.S.C. Sec. 134 Metropolitan transportation planning (United States Code (2014 Edition), is interpreted for NLCOG and the public, clarification will make it evident just who is expected to serve on the NLCOG board. And if the actions of improper participants are found to violate federal law, the ramifications of the past illegal meetings and proceedings may come back to haunt citizens. Clearly the failure of elected officials who the code designates must be on the NLCOG board to serve demonstrates that the best interests of citizens have not been served.
The anger we are seeing nationally as well as locally is not based on current events, alone. The simmer to boil arising in Washington, Baton Rouge and Shreveport has easily traceable roots to the elected officials who have made pages of glowing promises, signed agreements with voters and ignored all commitments once elections become official. From the TEA Party to MoveOn.org, the spectrum of PACs and Super funding arms that dominate elections nationally to the Louisiana Safety & Justice Super PAC that spent nearly a millions dollars in northwest Louisiana alone in 2015 to assist select candidates, the power of money over feet is like the rising tide that swamps the coast.
As my family is want to say, “We are in the hands of the Philistines!” Only if voters are angry enough to work for and demand change, will change occur. Today, the screamers hold the stage, but when each voter goes to the private booth to mark a ballot, that vote will make a difference only if it is intelligently cast.