Thursday, July 17, 2008

Got a Problem With That?

After listening to Senator Obama I have concluded that the outrage over his call for greater personal responsibility is unjustified. The only flaw is that he didn't similarly admonish black leaders. From Jesse Jackson, Sr. to William Jefferson to Kwame Kilplatrick, black elites are tainted with questions of corruption and dubious personal comportment.

In my continuing efforts to understand the modern world, I am struck by the moral fastidiousness of Ho Chi Minh and the leadership of the Vietnamese resistance. They resisted the lure of cultism which infected Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. The absolute moral superiority of Vietnam's revolution allowed it to endure and eventually prevail in the longest conflict in American history. In retrospect, truth was the decisive weapon against the most powerful nation in the world.

This moral authority wasn't merely an innate belief that they were right or tough. Persons literally were unworthy to be considered leaders if they did not not share in the prodigal conditions of their followers. Additionally, to be a leader required regular sessions of serious self-criticism, something which Scott McClellan notes was entirely absent in the current Bush administration.

Such aggressive searches for the deficiencies of leaders results in realistic assessments of their capacity to act effectively and is essential for self-improvement. Organizational failure is inevitable if the leadership has no default mechanism to confront and absorb the truths about itself. So rather than limit the requirement for deodorant to the undifferentiated and unwashed masses, Obama needs to include the black elites who regularly strut their stuff at invitation-only formal events.

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