Ballot ovals

Today’s word is... leader.

Congratulations to those of you who have won elections at every level.

Now you are leaders, and you must LEAD. Here is a simple point that should not be lost on any of you.

Your constituency can choose its leaders. You, on the other hand, have NO choice about your constituency.

You are responsible to and for EVERY constituent in your government unit. And if you choose to lead some of your constituents in directions they don’t want to go, then you must expect some pushback. You’re not the leader of just your friends, nor of just the people who voted for you.

Keep that in mind.

In my experience, at the city and county level things tend to not get heated. But people will express themselves, and some of those people may not exercise the level of restraint one might hope for. Just remember, you led those constituents to a place where they don’t want to go. You can’t simply wash your hands of them. And believe me, I know that at times you will be sorely tempted to say “That person is a nut case, and I’m not responsible for nut cases, am I?”

(An aside: Jordan is not totally benign. During one of my campaigns I received a credible threat to my family. One candidate I know of had a storm door destroyed as the candidate stood behind it, looking at a pickup truck idling across the street. And at least one current council member has received threats of harm to the council member’s family. Yes, these things happen in Jordan at times.)

It’s at the state and national level that things get sticky — for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, various media jump on the extreme stories of nut cases, the ones who bomb abortion clinics, or shoot up churches, for example. Also, the people on the fringes at that level seem to be more removed from their communities and/or families. In a small town people usually (but not always) know who’s struggling. We want to think that we’ll help those people who are struggling, but in truth we’re more likely to avoid them.

So. Leaders, you may deplore the actions of some in your constituency, but you can’t deny that those people are constituents. By extension, you can’t deny that you have some responsibility to them and for them. You are responsible for creating the environment in which they choose to act. Pro-abortion/pro-life, pro-pot/no-pot, roundabout/notabout, green/red/blue? They’re all yours. Now you have to figure out how to be a good leader for ALL of them.

Good luck Leaders.

Oh, and by the way, Followers, if you think I’m giving you an excuse to be nasty, disruptive, mean-spirited, or vulgar, you’re wrong. Every right guaranteed to you by the Constitution comes with a full freight of responsibility.

Today’s Quote: “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” — Henry Ward Beecher


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