I am very grateful for the past few years because politics and politicians have offered a common platform and experience to share what leadership is and, as importantly, what it is not. This essay was a series of comments that I made in response to the corrupt debacle of the Senate vote on tax “reform.” I have learned that if you don’t care about politics and leadership, you don’t care about the life you live and you abdicate leading your life.
We are now officially a Kleptocracy (from Greek κλέπτης kléptēs, “thief”, κλέπτω kléptō, “I steal”, and -κρατία -kratía from κράτος krátos, “power, rule”): A government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources in order to extend their personal wealth and political power on behalf of the elite (Wikipedia). It is systematic, state-sanctioned corruption just like Putin and Russia’s oligarchs; a criminal racket instead of a legitimate provider of public services.
Corruption has always been present, whether you call it plutocracy, oligarchy, etc. , and now it’s our official form of government. It’s not just in D.C. It’s at all levels where people use public office to personally benefit, profit or gain from their elected positions.
Kleptocracy doesn’t just weaken governments and nations. It destroys them. This will be a pyrrhic victory. This tax “reform” is the same 1920s set-up for a crash and depression just like 1929. I guess we have to learn the very hard way. I am deeply saddened by our ignorance of the Constitution and its intent, our indifference towards the loss of our democracy and our heartlessness towards one another as human beings.
“…this was done through orchestrated “institution building” that spans many decades. On August 23, 1971 the famous Powell Memo was drafted to outline the plan for the billionaire class to build a network of think tanks, infiltrate universities with endowed faculty positions, buy up and consolidate media, create organizations like ALEC that produce template legislation that can be replicated from state to state across the country, and so on.” (Joe Brewer)
Any corruption undermines democracy. Throughout human history, when the elite and the politicians who serve them do what they have just done to feed their greed, the society/civilization collapses (think the Fall of the Roman Empire). The thing about greed is that it is a symptom of immaturity and insecurity and what you do to others comes back to you. It’s called Karmic justice: The bigger you are, the harder you fall and you have brought it on yourself. Hence, the Buddhist wisdom mantra: “Do no harm.”
Life gave us all brain to think, to reflect and to learn from our experience and history, and a heart to do the right thing so that everyone thrives. We are not here to blindly follow murderers, liars and thieves who don’t care about anyone but themselves and their cronies to feed the corporate profits of predatory, parasitic capitalism.
We seem to no longer care about what this nation stands for or to learn from the past. We seem to no longer care about facts and the rule of law. We seem to no longer care about human morality, ethics, justice, and integrity. We prefer to follow along in mindless consumption and to allow corruption to rule our lives.
All we seem to care about is that “I got mine, screw you.” Most of us are being screwed and if you believe that this legislation serves the best interest of everyone, you are in for a rude awakening.
A local politician once said to me, “It’s all a game.” And it is. As a business owner, he resented and complained about having to pay high school students minimum wage “because they don’t need it.” Some youth are not privileged as his are and need to save for school/college or to contribute to the household.
We are the pawns for the political rooks, bishops and knights to play to feed wealth and power to the king and queen and to themselves. Anyone who is not useful for this (elderly, disabled and children) is seen as undeserving and culled. Anything that takes from corporate/business profits and wealth accumulation such as living wages, healthcare, housing, infrastructure, education, safety, support for the elderly or poor, etc., is viewed as negative and eliminated or is turned into a profit center. Nothing is worthy for the common, social good that is the meaning of governance.
So, without an infrastructure and education, healthcare and living wages, just who the hell do they think is going to do the work, have the education to innovate products and services and spend money that trickles-UP into profits. Corruption is willful stupidity.
The bottom line is that the profit motive for business makes for lousy public policy.
Business people who are politicians know how to manipulate laws and the system, remove the protections of regulations and exploit us to build their own and their cronies’ customer/market base and so profits and personal wealth. They do NOT know how to lead or govern for the common, social good. The mantra “good for business” is immature, irresponsible and reckless. “Good for business” is only used by Democratic and Republican plutocrats and kleptocrats who are programmed to serve the wealth and power of oligarchs.
Governance is not business; business is not governance.
Leaders have the freedom of breadth and depth of perspective and intelligence to see the polarities and all the different, interdependent facets of our society and then consciously integrate them so that everyone thrives. Leaders embody the personal conscience and consciousness of empathy and enact the societal conscience and consciousness of compassion.
True business and political leaders establish capitalist-socialism where workers and the community share in profits and wealth, and liberal-conservatism where equality, equity, shared power, justice, dignity, and well-being are the values that drive and govern policy and balanced budgets.
Anything not based in human morality, ethics, justice, and integrity, the public face of Love, fails. We are teetering on the edge of an epic failure. Human morality means do not kill, do not lie, do not steal, and honor our elders. Leaders have the courage and commitment to do what is right for the quality of life for all, not the enrichment of a few.
Leading is love in service to life: Love makes a leader a leader.
Lucira Nebelung is the founder of Leading As Love in Niantic.