Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our Next President

Wow! The race is already on! Everywhere you turn, the buzz is all about one presidential candidate or another, isn't it? Of course, it's still very early, so none of them are really saying anything yet. They're just prattling on about how the country needs "a new direction" and they're the only one who can provide it. Yeah, right!

But, if you're following the race as avidly as I am, here's the question I think you need to ask yourself about our next chief of state:

Do you want a leader or a follower?

When you hear a candidate say: "I'm listening to the people, and I'm going to give them what they want," that's a follower. That's someone who just sticks a wet finger in the air, sees which way the wind is blowing, then heads off in that direction. That's no leader. That's no visionary. That's just a tumbleweed! That's just a jerk who wants an easy path to power. We've already got way too many of those running the country!

A leader is going to say: "You may not like what I'm about to tell you, but please hear me out. I'm going to ask you to sacrifice, to do things that are difficult and unpopular, to do things that won't make your life easier in the short run, but it's ultimately going to take us to a better place. Here's the plan ..." Now that's a leader! And if you have any sense, that's who you'll vote for.

If we're lucky, a true leader will emerge among the candidates. It's not real likely, because it's difficult for a real leader to get elected when all the other candidates are giving false promises of easy solutions and more free goodies for everyone. There are no simple or easy solutions. And there's no such thing as a free lunch (or health care). In fact, the only way we're going to get a real leader is if we force one to emerge!

We need to stop listening to and contributing to candidates who just make more empty promises and vague references to a "new direction" and a better world. We need to tell those people to shut up and go home! The best thing we could do is boycott their public appearances until they start saying something of substance. Empty auditoriums would send a powerful message to our candidates that it's time for them to show some real leadership.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Black History Month -- a White Man's Perspective

Take a good look at my photo. I'm a white man. Not just any white man; an old white man. So how do you think I feel about Black History Month?

I love it! And why wouldn't I? It celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of people who have enriched my life! It doesn't detract one bit from the accomplishments of anyone else to focus on the achievements of African-Americans for a month. It merely serves to remind me what a wonderful and colorful world I live in!

I don't listen to just one kind of music, and I sure don't like to stare at just one scene or color all the time. I like variety in my life. And Black History Month helps me appreciate that variety just a little more. Variety doesn't dilute anything for me; it enriches everything!

To those who get upset about there being a Black History Month, but no White History Month, I would say this: why aren't you lobbying for one, then? That's how we got Black History Month. People who cared enough about it got off their behinds and did something about it.

I want to hear different perspectives. I want to have my ideas and preconceptions challenged once in awhile. I'm not threatened by people who see things differently from me -- even those who vehemently disagree with me. I want to know the truth. And learning the truth usually requires examining every perspective, sorting through conflicting versions of the same events, and applying rational thought. If my knowledge, beliefs, and values can't withstand a different point of view once in awhile, then maybe they're not grounded in the truth. If they are, listening to another opinion can't do me any harm, can it?

I'm a white man who's glad there's a Black History Month. I just wish there were eleven other varieties to go with it. That would make life the richer still.

And please remember: "the opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my sponsors."