Friday, September 14, 2012

Competence vs Charisma

Today is a day I don't have to think too hard.  I know what some of you are thinking...  "You're retired.  When do you have to think?"  And while that may be true on any given day, I do have to use my brain when I decide to write something.  (OK, I can hear those who disagree with my views saying "You use your brain for that drivel?"  My answer - certainly.  Even drivel takes thinking sometimes.)

Today's post wasn't written by me and, once I read it, it didn't take any real thinking to know I needed to share it with as many people as possible.  It was written by my old friend Frank Corbett, a man I met in the Air Force in Germany many moons ago.  I haven't seen him in years but we recently reconnected online and I'm happy about that.

Frank's views on the upcoming election have been expressed very well in this article and he has given me permission to share it.  Whether you agree with it or not, it's a good read and will make you think.  Thanks, Frank.

COMPETENCE vs. CHARISMA- Call it what you will...the conservatives vs. the liberals, the left vs. the right, it's not the party that makes you vote for a candidate. It is their ability to unite a larger voting body, by how you feel about the candidate.

During our recent 911 memorial ceremonies, I took advantage of the ready access to several of our local elect, and picked their brains on their thoughts on the DNC convention. Of course I got a lot of puffing about "lipstick on a pig", "twisting of the facts", and my favourite new term "fact laundering". Finally, it was one of our county officers who spoke the truth. "Frank, I thought Bill Clinton's speech was well done. I even thought Michelle Obama was fantastic. It's not what they said, it's how they said it, and how they made you feel it.". Finally, the truth!

It's true. History has shown us, over and again, that to a degree, it doesn't matter your political views are, or even your experience. Now before you go calling me a bigot or racist, remember I am pulling from the most well-known characters in history who made it to power, NOT what they did once they got there! Take a breath and pay attention to the point.

Napoleon was a bitter man of short stature, who made the poor angry by pointing out what they did not have, that the rich did. His speeches drew throngs of admiring supporters, ready to commit public murder for their charismatic savior. Thusly, he lived in the fashion of an emperor. It was the very hatred of the upper class that he stirred, that caused the people to turn on him.

Hitler appealed also to the hungry masses, by literally throwing bread from trucks to the people in the poorest areas, and employed them to help him. His public speeches were attended by tens of thousands, crying, cheering and holding their breath in every word. His promise of rebuilding a nation and making all citizens equal and powerful, led to the total destruction of a nation, it's people and a reputation. There were no appreciative citizens who thanked those soldiers for their service, only shame and denial.

Caesar promised glory, and the right of every soldier to pillage, and to a lesser known fact, to rape the enemies wives and daughters. It was only after he nearly bankrupt the republic, that his own council turned on him.

Each of these leaders, if they had passed the torch after their first four years, would have been remembered very favorably by history. They were charismatic, and charming. Their fans were loyal, and refused to entertain the notion that their heros could possibly be corruptible. We know the difference, now. Stalin, Castro and even our own beloved John Hancock...charismatic criminals with ideas conceived in crime.

So, here we are again, at the steps of history, ready to take those steps, again. The conservative candidate is not charismatic, and throngs of fans are not crying and pledging their undying devotion and bank accounts. He is not great at speeches, just good. He is not a war hero, a sports star...heck he isn't even a lawyer, though he does have a law degree. He is a success story illustrating the American dream. He is a strong Christian who is not afraid to say he doesn't support the 6% of atheists, doesn't believe that every cause should be championed, or needs to be. He is a man with a history of calling all the right shots, and will not apologize for being right, nor make any excuses if he is ever wrong.

In this election, the incumbent has failed at everything he started. Everything. The facts are facts. He admits that he has not fulfilled any promise in the way he intended, of the promises he has attempted. We are 50% deeper in debt on HIS watch...not the previous administration. We still have a prison in Cuba. We are still in Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have higher unemployment, and one in every three Americans receives some form of social services. Our trade defect is the highest in history, and the value of the U.S dollar at historical lows. The last promise he hasn't fulfilled, is his promise to make this "a one term deal" if he didn't succeed...

So there it is...competence vs. charisma. History taught us about this choice before...and charisma only makes one person successful.

Where do you stand?

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