The Best and The Brightest
Need Not Apply
I have noted a very concerning phenomenon.
It appears that every area of leadership is leaderless.
is corruption in sports to the point where a college football player can be
deemed ineligible to play due to the sequellae of multiple concussions by one
physician only to get a second opinion that he is fit and use this “second
opinion” by another team’s doc as a means to transfer to play at the second
college. That’s nuts and where is the NCAA’s leadership in this morass? Where
is the kid’s family? Where are the adults besides the first doctor?
The President of the United States is widely viewed as
ineffective at home and disloyal and without principle abroad. That’s
leadership? And curing cancer is equal to going to the moon? Where did that
come from? He’s been talking to people in Houston, no doubt.
The Congress is wholly dysfunctional barely able to eke out
a budget agreement to keep the government open and at times failing at that. My
high school graduating class was about the same size as the current Congress
and equally useful in the second half of its senior year.
The Supreme Court appears to be a nest of baby birds
chirping atonal jazz nonsense in 5-4 time. No young person could look at
Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia and aspire to be them.
Corporate America is best summarized by The Big Short as not just corrupt but ignorant of basic economics.
“More morons than crooks with the crooks higher up.”
The press irresponsibly provides a stage for a golden maned
bigoted financier and real estate developer-salesman (remember when those guys
wore white belts and shoes) on the pretense that what he says is news because
20,000 people show up for free entertainment. Most free concerts draw well.
That Trump and Bernie Sanders are both speaking to the anger of the American
public weighing their own circumstances against those of the Kardashians is not
an endorsement of American intellectual or economic exceptionalism.
Finally, American medicine has disgracefully left the rails
of altruism behind long ago for corporate greed and assembly line care. It has
gotten so bad for doctors that they are about to form real unions just to
maintain reasonable working conditions that do not compromise patient care let
alone the Hippocratic Oath.
What the hell is going on here?
It’s really quite simple. When speed and money supplant
quality and knowledge, this is the result. Faster and bigger is not good and it
certainly is not great. Just because we know more (e.g., about cancer
genomics), doesn’t mean we understand more (e.g., about cancer cures). As
Thomas Freidman has written, when it came to great in America, That Used To Be Us.
Donald Trump says he wants to “Make America Great Again.” I
agree, but he is not the man to do it because he appeals to our worst instincts
about immigrants, Muslims and people who don’t look like us. Such talk will not
make us great. It just makes us small. It certainly doesn’t make us leaders or
a beacon to the world.
None of the candidates currently running for the Presidency
has the capacity to BE a great President which takes a rare combination of
political wile, great intelligence, human sensitivity, vision and will. Which
one of the candidates has that? None. So we will have to elect the person among
the candidates most apt to learn how to lead on the job.
It is unfortunately very likely that we will have another
flawed human in the Oval Office without the capacity to grow into the job as we
have had for the past 16 years. But we know this much. Whoever makes it needs
to know the price of bread and milk, needs to keep his or her pants on, needs
to actually be able to put two words together, and needs to be a real leader
not just sound like one. Not surprisingly, to find such a person takes us back
to the last guy who actually presumed to BE President, Ronald Reagan. Of course,
he was just playing the President on television.