Where Have the Leaders Gone?

reaganeconomyYet another campaign has come and gone and left me feeling nauseated again.  We started this blog about two weeks ago, primarily as a way for a few friends to vent our frustrations. I feel like I am just getting started because we can only take so much oppression and negativity. Today I was thinking about our lack of positive leadership and it gave me a bad flashback. Let me tell you about a meeting I was unfortunate to be part of a little over a year ago.

At the time I was working for a local manufacturer that makes windows and architectural designs for a wide array of corporate building projects nationwide. No big deal for me…I was a hired grunt. However, even hired grunts like to hear like they are part of a dynamic and progressive team. Leaders sell the vision. That is part of their job. Am I right? Well I eventually grew disenchanted, and maybe it all started with that meeting.

The meeting comes to mind because it reminds me of the 2012 campaigns of both Romney and Obama. I can’t quote the meeting word for word so let me just quickly paraphrase what was said…

We are all going to have to tighten our belts. This economy is shaky. We are going to try to avoid layoffs. If you guys don’t screw up we may be able to survive. Production orders are low and you may experience less hours to avoid potential layoffs. Hopefully we won’t have to cut wages. There are no guarantees…yada, yada, yada.

I started to decide that day that I would be leaving as soon as I found another suitable employer. Why? My plan was not to stay at the bottom for long, and how could I totally commit myself to a company that had so little vision? I saw a lack of leadership. This gentleman was speaking to a room of 500+ employees and all he could do was spread more doom and gloom.

I, for one, get very sick and tired of the doom and gloom. People aren’t looking for a reminder of how bad the economy sucks and how impossible it is to climb the mountain in front of us. People are looking for leaders with solutions. The leader sees that mountain as a bump in the road and lays out a confident plan to skip over that little bump.

It is probably no secret that I lean more right than left in my political ideology, but Romney disappointed me just as much as Obama during the campaign. He probably let me down me even more because I had real hope for this man.

I realize that his “47%” comments were not meant to be made public, but either way it let me into his head. A leader does not concede that 47% of people are unwilling to follow him. A leader believes that his message and his ideas are powerful enough to change the way people think. His ideas are powerful enough to shape the history of a great nation.

I will grant that it could have been a moment of weakness, but the people of this country are not looking for a weak leader and Romney basically told us that he had no belief in 47% of our population. So why then should those people believe in him? It’s a fair question.

I wasn’t a huge Obama fan going into this campaign and unfortunately I haven’t changed my opinion lately, either. We are hearing these doom and gloom fiscal cliff talks from an administration that added over 50% (5.4 trillion dollars) to our national debt in only four years? Are you kidding me? Now he wants us to embrace the emergency of this situation? Quite frankly it makes me more than angry. It makes me want to expose him on every corner of the internet. OK, so Obama had help from congress (including both major parties). Fair enough…screw them all. They all let us down and now they want us to suck in the belt one more notch? Aren’t you a little angry?

I despise the fact that I think our leaders lie to us on a consistent and perpetual basis. They tell us what we want to hear sometimes and then act like it’s our responsibility to make sacrifices while they sit atop their “Ivory Towers.” They screw things up and then expect us to pay the price. I think most of our leaders have this “God Complex.” They want to see what will happen to us if they make certain moves. If they fail…we suffer. If they succeed they feel the need to experiment a little more. We are pawns on a chess board to these men and women of the political arena. They are not about the people, they are about the game.

What I believe the American people are longing for is that “once in a generation” leader who can make us believe that we are fighting for something great. Current day leaders make us think we are fighting to keep from being homeless. I’m sorry but people I know dream of more than a one room shack, they dream of wealth and prosperity. They just don’t believe they can necessarily have that presently, and it starts with our lousy leadership. Why aren’t they selling the vision?

I realize things are bad but until we can get some genuine optimism coming from Washington D.C. we really can’t expect the American people to have much optimism. The leader sets the tone and there has been little in the way of vision coming from the White House lately. I will include Obama’s predecessors in that observation. I am not saying that it is just the liberals. The conservatives need to pull the stick out of their collective asses as well.

Ronald Reagan was a leader with the power to unite people. The man could speak and say nothing of real substance, yet people would walk away feeling like they were fighting a holy war. The country flourished during the Reagan years. I would go so far as to say that it was more his attitude of genuine leadership than his policies.

People feed on leadership. It drove all great governments and businesses throughout history. Why has that important piece of the puzzle been forgotten?

When people believe in greatness, they reach for greatness.

What 47% of people wanted to hear from Romney was that there was a way out. Sure there are some people that do want a hand out. His assumption that 47% of people are like that, and refuse to change, was insane. If I believed that almost half of our people wanted a life-long handout, I would be headed for Canada. That is total nonsense. What a narrow-minded person! That is not leadership. That is a man who felt like a victim because 47% of people didn’t want to play with him. He was conceding possible defeat and blaming the great people of this nation for it. I am an American and I believe in my fellow Americans. I have seen their greatness and will see it again.

How can I speak for what handout recipients may be thinking? Well I have twice in the last 5 years had to take government benefits due to finding myself unemployed due to company closings. Do you think I was proud of that? Hell no I was not proud of that.

I was looking for someone to jump out in front of the crowd and say, “Things are challenging now but we have concrete plans to fix this…follow me…this is what we are going to do to restore this country to wealth.” That is the kind of leadership people are hungry for in America.

I don’t want to hear what I am hearing today… If we can’t fix this fiscal cliff fiasco then we are headed for the deepest depression in American history. Really? OK, well screw that negativity. I want to hear how we can fix the problem, make things better, and come out on the other side kicking ass and taking names. That is what we do. That is how we roll in America!

If you are going to lie to me anyway, then why don’t you sell me on some lies that will make me feel that there is real reason for hope?

Surely I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Our focus today is on punishing the rich instead of applauding them. Really? People want to be wealthy in this country. They want the American Dream. Somehow our leaders are selling them on the idea that this dream is no longer possible, so we must fight for crumbs. There is no more bread.

What happened to the American Dream? Are we truly headed toward socialism. “Socialism” used to be a dirty word in this country. It has been proven not to work. We spent years trying to educate other nations and now we are resorting to their failed plans? Has a nation of leaders turned into a nation of folowers?

Punishing the wealthy doesn’t help more people become wealthy, it makes them dependent on a government that is starting to scare me.

Obamacare will be responsible for 16,000 new jobs with the IRS. Really? Let’s put another 16,000 people behind government approved desks so they can tell us how bad things are, and tell us what we can and can not do. I would prefer to see 16,000 new employees being hired in the private sector that could actually produce something for export and profit.

Is it not obvious that the problems in this country start with the fact that we produce very little in the way of products that have any international value? 8% of people in this country work for the government. Did you know that? So the rest of us are expected to carry them because they product little or nothing that we can sell abroad. I’m not talking about the great men and women of our armed forces. They deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. I am talking about those stinky little bureaucrats who sit around and invent new ways to screw their loyal constituents.

For instance… My opinion is that the auto companies did not need a government bailout that solved nothing. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS PROVEN OVER AND OVER THAT IT DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO TURN A PROFIT. What they needed was a government who would fight for their products and be proud to represent those products on an international level. They need a sales rep, not a banker.

It’s like everyone in this country is giving up and I hate it.

There is an old story in marketing and I think it applies to our political and economic climate more than ever.

My business was going great. I was selling more widgets than ever before. I was totally excited about possibly expanding my operations and seeing the greatest year ever in 2013. Thank God a friend of mine stopped me. I was planning to double my advertising investment in the 3rd quarter of 2012. My friend pulled me aside and said, “Dean you can’t do that. Don’t you know that we are in a recession?”

I listened to him and I am so lucky that I did. I took his advice and lowered my advertising budget. He made it clear to me that people were going to buy less widgets this quarter, and he was right. We sold 50% less widgets this quarter but fortunately we were able to keep our heads above water because we planned ahead and cut our advertising costs by 50%. I hate to think what would have happened to our profitability if I would have doubled my budget as I first anticipated. Now we plan to decrease advertising and overhead permanently until this recession is over.

I of course personalized a little from the concept of an age-old story. Any amateur lemonade stand salesman can see the stupidity of the business owner in this example, but we can not recognize that the same thing is happening in the real world. Specifically it is happening in the United States of America which used to be one of the strongest economies in the world.

My belief is that it can be again, but not until we get these pessimists out of all levels of government, and instill people with ideas that will drive an economic revival. Give me a leader with a chip on her shoulder who believes we can not fail. Give me a leader who has proven he can make money and not a career politician who only knows how to spend it.

Put these other guys and gals in a special home for the discontented and never give them a microphone again. Until we make massive changes at the top levels, we can not take our rightful place in this world.

I love capitalism. That is what this country was built on. Let’s concentrate on ways to sell the wonderful goods and services of this country and stop bitching about how bad things are.

These political theorists are so far out of touch with the private sector that they can not be trusted. The solutions are pretty simple. We need to sell more products and services to restore the economy. Why are we conceding defeat instead of chasing victory?

Track records should mean everything. Let’s lose another 5.4 billion in the next 4 years. People will vote for that. Well, at least 47% will. That’s what the conservative leader said. Great job Republicans. The Democrats didn’t win this election. You gave it to them.

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About Dean Garrison

Dean Garrison is a husband and father of six, who faithfully pursues the American Dream. He has been MOSTLY self-employed for the last 20+ years and has been a top earner, executive and leader for several direct sales companies.
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