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Holding Our Leaders Accountable

By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) 2003 by RDFollendoreIII

When Presidents of American corporations fail to maintain the economics and stockholder value, when coaches and quarterbacks in America fail to succeed at leading their team to victory, when a hockey goalie in the NHL lets too many pucks get by, when a baseball player in the major leagues lets too many fast pitches get the best of his swing at the ball, and when a dancer is unable to perform to competitive standards, they are held accountable for things that they may not be capable of doing anything about.  With respect to performance, judgment of worth and capability in accountability as a leader is not just a matter of fairness.  Leadership is about taking responsibility not only about those things that can be managed, it is about being responsible and accountable for things that the leader has been found to be unable to control.  When those who should and can judge don't, and when they don't hold high standards for successful performance or the absence of past catastrophic failures, then the judges become jointly responsible for future disappointments. This essay is about bringing together that big picture and the reasons why it has become so important for us to consider the judgment of accountability of our leaders in these terms. 

February 2, 2003

Americans are beginning to come around to the big picture.  As a consequence, Americans are beginning to ask about how many things can go wrong before we begin to consider that something is fundamentally wrong with the concept of leadership within our country?  Is it simply serendipity that the past two years have been catastrophic, or is the fact that there has been a radical change to the way that the business of leading this country is being conducted that has attracted the problems we now face as a nation?

At the same time, New York was attacked and America lost two of our largest and most important buildings.  The Capital of the United States has been attacked by a handful of men and destroyed nearly one fifth of the headquarters building holding our military defense. In some irrational concept of retribution, we now have hundreds of thousands of troops sitting on the edge and ready to invade a country that is not an imminent danger to the United States. How many simultaneous wars does that make now? 

Let's see, World Wide Terror, the country of Afghanistan, Iraq... now maybe North Korea? Now our stewards say that "we" are willing to "go it alone" while "they" rewrite the national policy on first strikes and retaliation using nuclear weapons. In the mean time, the stock market has continued to to barely hold at some of the lowest indicators we could have imagined two years ago.  The largest American corporations in the world are failing, because they "lost" up to a hundred billion dollars in assets in phony accounting practices.   All the while, unemployment within the United States continues to soar, even with the fact that most Americans seeking work are not being counted on the unemployment rolls.  

More and more we are seeing that the organization and infrastructure of the United States is in an uproar.  The news media is being carefully controlled, the news censored and suppressed.  The Constitution of the United States is being systematically bypassed so that thousands of  foreign citizens and Americans are being held off shore without a right to attorneys, fair trials, or even the right to know the evidence against them. In conjunction with the fear of terrorism, basic civil rights are being pulled out from under American citizens.  America is being systematically isolated because our neighbors and allies, including the European Union appear scared to death of what our leaders are planning to say and do next. When they complain, our diplomats put full court pressure on their governments to remove them from their office. 

Yesterday, the United States Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed because the leadership of this Nation required the adherence to a schedule while refusing to budget for proper NASA programs of hiring, management and upkeep.  It looks like the same kind of Challenger cover-up all over again.  We may all expect the stonewall of bureaucratic words of delay from the inevitable spewing of facts that will inevitably show how overextended the NASA program has become.  There will be the fact that this problem began on the watch of the previous administration and that is true. Then there will be the flood of promises to do better as well as the threats to eliminate the most important technical achievements mankind has ever performed.  All of this will be used as more leverage to gain even more control over budgets and to consolidate more power in the hands of fewer people.  Accountability is relative to when an event occurs.   The facts will show that this watch has not been supportive of preventing risks and dangers inherent within our manned space endeavors.  To distance themselves from accountability, this administration has been shifting the entire program too quickly toward commercial responsibility.  But the bottom line is simply that like Challenger, the loss of another space shuttle event occurred on this Republican watch, not the Democratic one two years ago. There was plenty of time to make the necessary NASA management corrections.

Americans went to the polls and by the narrowest means possible elected what we thought was a "compassionate conservative" government.  If anyone thinks that all of America has a "conservative" government then they must be absolutely mad.  Over the past two years, America has lead into taking huge unprecedented risks on every possible front and issue and calling it conservative.  The problems that have been occurring in increasingly epidemic proportions are taking place on the watch of those who are not willing to accept responsibility.  It does not take a diplomatic or political genius to see that there is certainly something wrong and these problems must represent far more than just random luck of the draw. 

The processes we are seeing is symptomatic of a systematic failure of the critical infrastructure that regulates and governs.  The ripples of social, political and economic problems are occurring from our leaders decisions to maintain absolute sense of dominance and control over ever facet of power.  The ability of networked systems to be pervasive into every nook and crevice of power is becoming an ominous side effect of catastrophic modern events.  Systems that once were self regulating have become subsystems which must now compete with the dominating centralized view of the greater good.  We are seeing the effects of the most fundamental local decisions being over governed, regulated and under evaluated in favor of weighted considerations of a "moral" minority that have little to do with a conscience locally conservative perceptions of reliability or survivability.  

If there is a powerful critique that comes from all of this, it is not completely with the administration of power.  The critique must lay with the nature of the American opinion that becomes so turned off by the outcome of elections, and at the same time so blindly trusting of the result that the majority of the population choose to no longer debate the issues.  We have become so tolerant and trusting that others in positions of power know more then they.  We have been blindly trusting that those they put in power are not hiding their true agendas and intend to do the best thing. Perhaps the most crazy thing is that all of our tolerance, trust and blindness is taking place within a technologically wired world where knowledge is increasingly more pervasive and available to anyone willing to search and see.    




Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved