Each week something new and unusual comes out of the USA that leaves many of us scratching our heads in bemusement. Comedians are complaining that their joke writing can’t keep up with the rapidly changing headlines and stories and across the globe families are caught in a should we/shouldn’t we? dilemma about heading to the United States. Protestors have taken to the streets in towns and cities across America and elsewhere and social media is full of commentary both supporting and denouncing the latest Executive Order.
It is not my place to comment on the appropriateness of any order issued by the President of the United States (POTUS) and I am not even a beginner when it comes to US constitutional law so I will leave commentary on the specifics to those better qualified than me. Instead, I want to focus on what the current situation can teach us about leadership.
POTUS is often described as the leader of the free world or the most powerful man (at least so far) on the planet. While this may be a predominately western view, it is one that is hard to argue against with any great conviction. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility; the responsibility to act in the genuine best interests of the people that you serve, and the responsibility to conduct business in a manner befitting such a powerful position. Now, it is well known that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely, so perhaps it should come as no surprise when people in positions of great power wield that power in ways that others do not like.
What is interesting about much of the paragraph above is that it can be applied as much to the Federal judges involved in the legal wrangling as to the presidential administration. The very best leaders make decisions, sometimes difficult or harsh ones, based on the best interests of the organisation, community or country, with no trace of ego, bias or ideology. Can that be said of either side on the current argument that rages across America? Can it also be said of the current argument in the UK over BREXIT, which has its own legal challenges?
If a leader is to be truly successful then he or she must listen to every viewpoint, engage in both sides of the debate, consider the genuine best interests of all involved and finally make decisions that the majority can get behind. The recent travel ban from the Trump administration is not the first time this tactic has been used and is arguably less draconian than some immigration policies around the world. However, it is not well understood, has not been well implemented and has triggered a legal revolt and public uprising regardless of the benefits to US national security. Leaders on both sides of the argument, from the President down, need to be taking a long hard look in the mirror and asking whether the kind of leadership currently on display is the kind that the proud people of the USA really deserve?
Personally, I think it falls well short of the standard that should be expected, both from POTUS and the highly-educated people that make up the US justice system and somebody needs to put an end to the childish bickering being witnessed daily. A President that acts more like Kim Kardashian or Russell Brand is notwhat the office of POTUS deserves, but President Trump is not the only one to bear responsibility for the current situation that is undermining the global standing of the self-styled “Greatest Country on Earth”.