By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Harry Reid will forever be known as the Senate Majority Leader who decided that the majority no longer needs to listen to the minority – at all.
Forget the fact that he said it would never happen under his watch. Forget the fact that he said it would destroy the institution of the Senate if it were ever done.
The biggest hypocrisy is for Reid to say that he listens to and represents the voices of minority groups but shuts down the ability of the Republicans to be heard in the Senate.
Reid is so convinced that he is right about everything that he no longer needs to hear others who disagree.
When did we get to the point that only one group has all the answers?
As a conservative, I believe my view of the world is the better one, but I know that unilaterally it would fail because not everyone agrees.
The same is true about the liberal agenda.
For any organization, community, school district, city, state or nation to succeed does not take monolithic leadership. That’s called tyranny.
It takes compromise and the ability to listen with those that see the world differently.
There is a saying about being careful who you grant authority. Some tend to abuse it.
This is true on a number of fronts.
Whether it is how we grade our children or how we visit our doctor, those in authority have to be able to exercise the ability not to dictate but to lead.
There is a time when dictating is necessary.
When we raise our children, they do not have the benefit of experience, and we have to protect them. We try our best to prevent them from burning their hand to learn that stoves are hot.
But as we grow up, we each have different backgrounds and experiences that lead us to different conclusions.
Some will believe that a stop sign at the corner saves lives while others feel it impedes traffic.
If we do not listen to both points of view, we begin to censor, to accuse and eventually label those who oppose us as agitators, part of the problem, or obstacles that need to be removed, eliminated or re-educated.
Senator Joseph McCarthy used this tactic to remove dissenters by accusing them of being communists after World War II.
There is now a definition of McCarthyism, and it means to make accusations of disloyalty, subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.
That’s what we see today.
If you disagree with criticism of the president, call the opposition racists.
If some senators disagree with increasing the national debt, call them obstructionists.
If you don’t believe a new grading system will result in a better evaluation tool, you are disloyal and not a team player.
We have opted to remove all voices that do not echo our own.
Is this what America has become? Are we to blindly follow based on what we are told, not what we think?
The new movie, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” illustrates this point very clearly. Eliminating the ability to dissent leads to a revolt.
Being a dictator is relatively easy. Being a true leader is hard. You have to listen and involve other views. You have to make sure that all views are shared, and the better ideas will always win.
Suppressing views is only done by those with a weaker case.
But leaders allow alternative views. They welcome them.
Dictators do not lead. People obey them out of fear, not respect.
True leaders are followed because they are willing to work with others.
You should expect no less from your leadership, wherever it may be.
Do they listen or do they indoctrinate? Do they tolerate other views or do they punish them?
We have to find true leaders who aren’t afraid to believe they may not have all the answers.