Philosophical Friday: Leadership

By: Ethan Rampersaud
Photo Credit: Creative Commons

In today’s world, leaders are everywhere. From social reformers to our own teachers and parents, leaders inspire strength and unity among people. They bring others up, regardless of their abilities or struggles. They stay close to people in their lowest times, and celebrate them in their higher times. Leaders create other leaders; they provide the backbone for others to stand up and create change in society.

However, we have become a more passive society in general. Less people are taking a stand to change and reform issues we see in our communities, instead preferring to complain about how others aren’t changing the issue. Like the bystander effect, no one will take a stand until they see someone, a friend or an inspiring figure, take the problem in their own hands and work towards solving it. This in turn results in an impasse in which one person waits for the other, getting nothing done and nothing progressed. Whether it is the fear of failing as a leader, or the desire of less responsibility among individuals, this behavior is taking control away from us, and instead placing it in the hands of a minority that can do whatever they want with their leadership. Even in this democracy, where it is the people who take control of the government, some people don’t care for their voice to be heard. For instance, some do not use the power of casting their vote, locally and nationally, to decide the direction the government is headed. Furthermore, we have not taken enough action to place enough power in the hands of the American people. Rather, the electoral college is still in control of deciding the fate of presidential elections. These electors, who at times vote for candidates they prefer rather than what the people prefer, must be lowered in their power, as these electors are not the voice of the American people.

The ballot is not the only method to lead your community. There are other ways to help start change and reform. One such way is a petition. Petitions, whether large or small, can help bring the voices of tens, hundreds and thousands of people to a large roar that cannot be easily ignored by the government. However, even something such as a simple letter to your local senator or representative can provide a meaningful sentiment that they can take into consideration. However, you have to be willing to have the drive, the initiative, to go along with the petition or letter and carry that message forward. This is the element many hopeful leaders in our society today are missing. Yes, they may have the charisma, the hope, the ethics, but they lack the motivation to dedicate themselves to leadership.

Now more than ever, we need to have active and dedicated leaders. We need people willing to point out the problems found in today’s society, but at the same time willing to offer solutions to the issue. We require leaders who think outside the box, who innovate different solutions to solve different problems rather than apply cookie-cutter logic. Future leaders must also be able to empathize and carry others in their lowest times, no matter their situation or struggle.  We need them to encourage those around them to better themselves, and hopefully become leaders themselves. This way, the cycle of standing idly while waiting for others to take action will be broken, as we the people will start moving, thinking and leading.

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