Make a Difference

Day: November 20, 2008

What Were You Thinking?

Before the US Presidential election I wrote a latter to the Editor of the New York Times as follows:

Dear Editor,

I note with interest your endorsement of Senator Obama for President.

Senator Obama is a very attractive man. He has a lovely voice. These are bonuses in a public figure, but they are not qualifications.

Character and policies are important. These are the factors on which a voting decision should be made. In both these factors there are differences between the two candidates.

But before these things are considered, before a candidate is even proposed, he or she must have shown the ability both to manage and to lead.

To manage is to use available resources effectively and efficiently to bring about a desired result.

Senator Obama has never managed a state or an organisation of any scale. He has never even run a corner store.

On what basis  could anyone believe him capable of managing the financial, personal and organisational complexities of the presidency?

To lead is to have  a vision which is shared with others by consistent example. To do this one must clear about one’s own beliefs, and stand for them unswervingly.

A leader cannot simply say, when asked to make a difference, “Present.” That may be an option in the Illinois Senate, It is not an option for the President.

Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.

Senator Obama has not shown any ability to manage. He has shown no ability to lead.

There is nothing in Senator Obama’s history to encourage confidence that he would make a wise, courageous and capable president.

Yours, etc

He has done nothing since the election to make me change my mind. 

As Joe Biden said “The presidency is not the place for on-the-job training.” 

America, what were you thinking?

What Matters

More than just kindness, whatever Jewel might say.

What matters are the things that make us human – our capacity for relationships, for creativity, for hope, and our capacity for rational and purposeful investigation of the world around us.

Baz Lurhmann in Moulin Rouge had it right with his catalogue of beauty, truth and love. But these make a difference in the world only if they are made active in practical thought and rational action.

Qohel is about politics, religion, art, history, about right and wrong, and about how making a difference means depends not just on wanting things to be better, but on working to make them better, and thinking about what works.

© 2024 Qohel