March 2018: Do We Get the Leaders We Deserve?

March 2018 Inter-Belief Conversation Café

Do We Get the Leaders We Deserve?

Monday, March 19, 2018
7 – 9 p.m.
Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul
1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105 (View Map)

The Rolling Stones tell us that, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.” Do we get leaders we need and do we deserve them? Did we need and deserve Barack Obama? Do we need and deserve Donald Trump? Are all of us so deserving or just their fervent supporters? In a divided electorate is the consequence polarizing figures whose tweets or polished eloquence are relished by one half of the people and deplored by the other? Are we constantly choosing between the lesser of two evils rather than the better of two respected candidates? How did things get this way and how can we change them?

Are we envious of the leaders that other countries have? Do we gaze wistfully at Justin Trudeau of Canada, Emile Macron of France, and Angela Merkel of Germany? Don’t they have detractors in their own nations? Do they reflect a more homogenous, more responsible, and even saner body politic? In the slogan, “Vox populi, vox dei” the voice of the people is the voice of God. What is God looking like in modern America? Are we selfishly seeking benefits from government rather than making sacrifices for the common good? Is unity only possible for the Greatest Generation during time of economic hardship and war or during that moment of togetherness after 9/11? What is broken and can it be fixed?

Are we looking for leadership in the wrong places? Don’t Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama show us that good leaders are out there? Wasn’t Martin Luther King, Jr. a more serious leader than John F. Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson? Is politics a dead end and ethical or spiritual leadership what gives us purpose and meaning? Do our moral leaders sometimes fail us? Martin Luther King had affairs; Pope Francis is accused of turning a blind eye to pedophile priests. Do we want perfect individuals as leaders or is it better to have flawed ones who might have compassion for imperfect followers?

Are leaders superfluous? Should we concentrate on cultivating our own gardens and not focus on the mansions of power? To be better parents, children, siblings, neighbors, and dwellers on the planet should we lead or be led? Are leaders the scapegoats when families, neighborhoods, and communities fail in the duty of creating a loving, moral, and responsible society? Do we get the leaders we deserve because we are not the leaders that we should be?

On Monday, March 19 from 7-9 PM at Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, 1671 Summit Avenue (corner of Summit & Pierce), St. Paul, Inter-belief Conversation Café will attempt to find the path to governance or maybe a little less chaos. Agreements of open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, brevity, and confidentiality will hopefully be our guiding light. But even those to be found among the deplorables or losers will get treats!