It’s an election year again, and we find the country completely divided with the Obama supporters on one end and the Christian Evangelicals on the other. People who identify as center-left to the center-right are left stranded without an obvious candidate to support. Perhaps this has always been the way of the American political system, as potential politicians become more radical as they conform to their party.
This is not really a rant about the bipartisan system prevalent in the United States and its flaws. I wish to write about the biggest problem the world and the US both face: the lack of genuine, hardworking leadership. If we consider America as a corporation and its citizens as shareholders, then we see a very badly run organization. If this were a publicly listed company, activists would have taken over the company by buying all the shares, firing the entire board, and electing a new board that would safeguard the shareholders’ interest — one that does not go on an empire-building spending spree, waste resources, or forget about innovating with the times (RIP Kodak). If you were on the board of directors, you would think twice before picking a CEO who has married three times because it shows lack of consistency and commitment. On the other hand, you should also not pick the incumbent candidate by default just because he cannot screw up more. Both these are red flags in their own right. Government and political jobs in every country do not attract readymade talent like information technology and financial jobs do. The meritorious, deserving candidate might never be discovered if he just ends up writing a candidate’s speech without receiving credit. Rising to political prominence requires luck and funding, rather than just relevant credentials. It is perhaps for this reason we do not have a surplus of competent candidates who are motivated to improve the country’s situation.
We have chosen — and frankly, deserve — the people we have sent to represent us. It is our job, as shareholders, to make sure we keep ourselves and our friends informed when the management is really taking the country in the wrong direction and be proactive when feel there is a problem. A great example has been the activism surrounding the PROTECT IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act that led to the defeat of those bills.
I do hope that the electorate makes an informed decision about the next candidate. Herd mentality will not break the loop of mismanagement. We have to get our hands dirty and do our own homework on the candidates. Being the rational optimist, I know we can come to the right election decision in the long run and overcome the problem of a lack of leadership.