The fear of speaking out and up

My last post was up for less than a day, before the owner of the restaurant in question kindly asked for me to take it down.

Unfortunately, the Internet doesn’t have a real delete key. There are many of you who can figure out how to read it by going through caches, by using the wayback machine- or looking in RSS feeds. Plus- a few really pertinent comments were added- that I don’t have a right to censor. So I password protected the post- and if you look around, or write me an e-mail- I’ll gladly give it to you. Of course, if you want to try your mad code-breaking skills- the password is a word from the post’s title- take a wild guess at which one… you’ll probably get it.

But- I posit to you, it’s this kind of fear of airing our grievances that has us where we are today in Dayton- facing huge obstacles to overcome, with leaders who fail even the most basic leadership skill tests. Those who have vision- often don’t have power, those with power- often only use it to keep their power to themselves. Those who study leadership know that you can only gain true power by giving yours away- yet, that is rarely done here.

We’re terrified of the new, the different, of speaking out and up- because we fear that those with very little power, use it to punish, to blackball, to ostracize, to ridicule.  I’ve often quoted Paul Woodie, one of the more interesting people to have worked in Dayton City Hall- who told me early on “In this town, you need a herd to be heard.” How true.

I’ve written so much about bad behavior by our elected “politicians” in this county- and even given them a name: “The Monarchy of Montgomery County”- yet, there has been no outrage, no investigations of merit, and very little punishment of those behaving badly. The wagons are circled, the lies protected.

A small chink in the system- in neighboring Greene County comes with the fall of the “House of Schmidt” to which the Dayton Daily opines:

The pattern is egregious.

In such a small town as Xenia, the truth had to be known — or should have been known — to a wide range of people in important positions. It’s simply hard to believe it wasn’t. After all, people were quitting out of frustration with the way the office was run. Others were unhappy.

The leadership of the Republican Party needs to take some blame. That party totally dominates elective offices in Greene County. With that power comes responsibility.

The fact that Greene County doesn’t have a vibrant two-party system fosters complacency in officeholders. The dominant party has to know that and keep its own eye out for bad behavior.

The Democrats also failed. That party has to pick its targets carefully. It missed one. Nor do the media have much to be proud of here. The story broke only because one employee finally went to the state.

Still, of course, the offender here is Mr. Schmidt.

via Editorial: Schmidt case has message for Greene leaders | A Matter of Opinion.

However, I beg to differ- the offender here isn’t Mr. Schmidt- it’s us, the people- who’ve sat in complacently while our “representatives” and the “system” that we swear by- continues to fail us, to embarrass us, and to cause our community to lose value and our values. That we haven’t risen up, spoken out and stopped the madness. The Dayton Daily just wrote a story about the coroner who is working three jobs- that they aren’t posting online- without a call to end the stupidity of electing a coroner. We had the sheriff and his appraisers, the city manager and his child porn-surfing grandpa on the payroll, the convicted rapist hired by his sister at the BOE, the father-in-law, the brother, the uncle etc. We’ve had welfare money handed out to convicted welfare thief – and family members benefiting from county real estate deals. We’ve had retroactive pay raises that weren’t approved by city commission, hell, they didn’t even know it happened, and all this- doesn’t make us wake up and scream?

What we’ve allowed to pass for leadership in the community is an embarrassment. And despite the criticisms hurled this way for my “negativity” – let’s be realistic-there are no voices other than this one calling for investigations, prosecutions and change.

But, you don’t have to accept me as a leader. That’s what at least seven (I think- I can’t even remember them all at this point) elections have said to you who are keeping count. Why do you keep running if you keep losing? Why can’t you accept that no one wants to hear your voice- we wish you’d just go away.

To all of you- my supporters and my detractors- I will share with you an essay by someone far smarter than me. You should read the whole thing- twice, and then print it out, or add it to your Kindle or iPad or even cell phone- and reread it every time you see our community stumble- and then think- what can I do to change things, how can I make a difference? Do I need to enter the fray by running for office? Do I need to support someone who has the vision? How will I identify the leaders I want to lead? And what can we do with the impostors we’ve got?

Here is an excerpt- and there were many I could have pulled- but this will have to do:

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.

via Solitude and Leadership: an article by William Deresiewicz | The American Scholar.

What is your vision? Who stands between you and achieving it? Is it your boss, your partner, your community leaders, the banks, is it you? Is it Inspector Gotcha? Do you need to go and read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill (only .89 for kindle)?

Do you feel a need to blame someone else for where we are?

Are you a part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Share your answer below.

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