Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A molder of consensus


The Rude Pundit pointed me to Dr King's speech outside Santa Rita prison. Words to remind us what leadership is (because I fear we can no longer remember):
"Somebody said to me not too long ago, 'Dr. King, don't you think you're hurting your leadership by taking a stand against the war in Vietnam? Aren't people who once respected you gonna lose respect for you? And aren't you hurting the budget of your organization?'

"And I had to look at that person and say, 'I'm sorry, sir, but you don't know me. I am not a consensus leader. And I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Leadership Conference or by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion.'

"Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but he's a molder of consensus. And on some positions, cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expedience asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?'

"But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'
What leaps out at me is "I am not a consensus leader" and "Is it right?" Gawd, I wish we had some more members of Congress who acted on what is right and told consensus to go take a hike. I'm not into claiming to be pure and noble for the sake one's rightness, but I would love some fiery speeches and strong votes to do what is right and not what is expedient, or sufficiently acquiescent to the corporatocracy that owns this nation.

Preach it, brother Martin, keep on preaching it!

--the BB

5 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh Paul, this is so good. I believe we have forgotten that it's possible for leaders to be led by conscience rather than consensus. It's been so long....

The Cunning Runt said...

He'll preach it forever, as long as people like you continue to spread his word.

I had a hard time not capitalizing "his" there. Martin so represents God in the flesh to me, an iteration of The Coming, to be repeated 'till we get it.

Paul said...

He had a huge influence on me when I was in high school. Conservative Baptist Republican boy turns pacifist and supportive of civil disobedience. King turned me toward Gandhi and Tolstoy.

Lindy said...

I hope Obama reads this.
I think I'll send him the link.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Amen!