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Open Forum: Responsible leadership is needed

When someone attains a position of prominence or leadership, we have always assumed that a certain level of responsibility goes with it. They speak not just as one person but for a position, a cause, a group.

Their words are heard differently ... they have more weight. If they use words that suggest hatred, they make hatred acceptable and encourage hatred in those who listen. If they use words that suggest intolerance, they encourage intolerance and make it acceptable.

Our words empower others; they encourage ways of thinking and courses of action. We would not speak if we did not want others to listen and believe. As leaders, what we suggest as ways of dealing with the world become viable ways of dealing with the world to those who listen. If we suggest extreme actions, extreme actions appear acceptable to those who listen.

Leaders know this and responsible leaders are careful of the words they use, knowing full well the possible ramifications of their suggestions.

Those who would build their leadership on fear and frustration, anger and misplaced action, use words to incite. They are the demagogues. They feed the flames and then often deny that their words lead to violent action ... no responsibility, no accountability. This is cowardice and irresponsible leadership.

History is full of demagogues ... Hitler and Mussolini for example.

And in America we tell people not to trust society to provide stability but encourage them to buy guns. Wow, what personal power. These are not guns for hunting animals, or to put food on the family table, these are guns to kill and maim, to intimidate and seek vengeance.

These demagogues arise in a society that deifies the military and violent solutions through wars and who train their young to kill.

Where is the responsible leadership in that?

Bob Passi