COLD AND TIMID SOULS
December 12, 2004
War, reality, and the perpetual bi-partisan adversarial whizzing match all need to be taken into consideration in the wake of the recent withdrawal of Bernard Kerik from consideration to head the Homeland Security Department.
This is not a defense or attack on Kerik, but it is a commentary on the inevitability of unintended consequences.
Only God is capable of infinite justice AND infinite mercy. However, we could at least strive to emulate His Divine example.
This is a tad complex and attempts to synthesize mutually exclusive concepts, but let's give it a shot.
We need to conduct a national cost-benefit analysis to determine if adherence to a standard negatively impacts on the net outcome and what are the pluses and minuses.
We have a problem in this country expecting every potential middle-aged prospective public servant to have never made any mistakes.
Frankly, if a man or woman reaches 50 years of age and hasn't done something worthy of embarrassment, and/or criticism, they probably haven't done 'Jack'.
People who accomplish stuff do so by taking risks. Risk implies danger. We learn from risk taking...good things and bad things.
Homogenized, vanilla managers may exceed the 'Peter Principle' but they will never achieve any significant success. Forrest Gump is a fictional anomaly.
"Leaders" (as described by Dr. Robert Jarvick, inventor of the artificial heart) "are visionaries, with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them...they make things happen."
A "poorly developed sense of fear" is inherent and necessary in risk taking leaders.
The ability to learn from failed risks, to exploit strengths and minimize weaknesses is imperative in leadership at any level.
It is increasingly daunting to see the carcinogen of political correctness metastasize to the point it has. Partisan adversaries and a salivating media 'Jones' for any and all opportunity to vilify a perceived opponent for 'sins/crimes' (real or suggested) committed by someone 20-something.
We are at war. We desperately need leaders at all levels who eschew the lowest common denominator no risk/no harm/no foul mantra.
We are at war. We need Georgie Patton and Bull Simons, Reed Irvine and Robert Jarvick...heart breakers and ass kickers who are not afraid of risk taking and not cowed by some effete Manhattan or Georgetown columnist.
Mr. Kerik's so-called "nanny problem" mirrors what led to the withdrawal of three Cabinet nominations during the Clinton administration, including Zoe Baird, an attorney who was President Clinton's first choice as attorney general; Lani Guinier, a Clinton Yale University Law School buddy who had been tapped to head the Justice Department's civil rights division; and Kimba Wood, a U.S. District Court judge who was Mr. Clinton's second choice for attorney general. President Bush suffered the loss of his first choice for Secretary of Labor when Linda Chavez acknowledged (and refused to make excuses) for having employed another illegal alien as a housekeeper.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the door of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
Credit and merit belong (and should be recognized and acknowledged) to those who have been bloodied, and muddied. We need 'leaders' who refuse to seek counsel or company with "those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
The punditry class blood sport of eviscerating better men and women than those who presume to judge them is creating a dangerous environment in which eventually (if we have not already passed it) we reach a point where the best and the brightest...those who have achieved significantly because of audacity and the developed refusal to accept defeat or failure as an option, will avoid public service at the time we most need their talents, skills and abilities.
When that happens, (as Edward Albee once penned) "What is gained is loss."
© 2004 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Homogenized, vanilla managers may exceed the 'Peter Principle' but they will never achieve any significant success.