Category Archives: Contemplations

To Lead is to Follow–Wait, What?

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Topic #222: do you prefer to lead or follow?

This last school year has been a lesson in leadership.

I like to think that I prefer to follow. I’m always following something–rules, teachers, parents, siblings, friends–sometimes to the point where it can cause problems with other people. But I’ve also always thought of myself as completely independent in some respects–my responsibilities to myself and other people.

Yes, I realize that having responsibilities to other people is a form of following. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ve always thought of it. I don’t see myself as a leader–I never have, and probably never will. But it’s my commitment to other people that has led others to see me as a leader, and–to my surprise–a good one at that.

In my opinion, helping somebody, whether it be because of a mutual desire or friendship–or both–is not a form of leadership, but a sort of partnership. While I might help a friend learn their music, I don’t see them as inferior; rather, they are my equal. Maybe they don’t read their music as quickly, or maybe they struggle with math or history in ways that I don’t. But chances are they have something I can also never have, something equally as important in their lives. Maybe they can draw, or sing, or dance. Maybe they’re better at math, or science, or history. It reminds me of something my mother always told me: “Whatever you do in life, there’s always someone that’s better.”

If my commitment to other people in helping them reach their goals has caused others to see me as a leader, then so be it. But I have to wonder–is that really what a leader is? Someone who will follow others, help them, not because they know they themselves will gain from it, but because they honestly care for the person being helped? Someone who prefers to follow or move on his or her own, but will lead in little ways if given the chance? A person who can’t stand the idea of ever being superior to someone else? That’s certainly far from being in the middle–but is that person a leader, or a follower?
And what of politics? Are these people really leaders, who see themselves as so far above the rest of the populace? Who do things for a commonality, rather than one person at a time? What’s the good of majority if everyone is supposed to have equal rights?

What good is any leader if they hold themselves so far above everyone else that the only opinion anyone can have of them is that they’ve decided to play god?

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Contemplations, Controversial Topics


Tags: , , , , ,

Human Rights?

For some reason I find myself thinking about the Vietnam War.

I’ve read a total of three books on the subject: A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo, and Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried, both by Tim O’Brien. I suppose I’ve probably read some other things, like parts of Kissinger’s Diplomacy and numerous other works by numerous other authors.

Even knowing what happened, I feel like there’s something missing. Some vital piece of the puzzle. Oh, yeah. The piece that was missing since the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (aspects of which are very scarily turning up in current events): why it happened.

Who knows why people resort to war? Large public upheavals. Mob psychology. It all plays a part. I’m sure the definition might be a bit enlightening.

1. A conflict carried on by a force of arms, as between nations or parties within a nation.

2. A state or period of armed hostility or active military operations.

Never mind, then. There is no reason for war, other than the contention between ideas that some people believe must be solved by violence.

But that’s general war. What about Vietnam? Why did the United States interfere in what had previously amounted to a civil war? Was it communism? Honest fear of Soviet expansion? Or was it something else?

It certainly isn’t communism now.

Now, it’s “human rights.” Apparently, we have the obligation to make sure others’ rights are well-secured. So we send troops overseas, to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya. Because there are revolutions going on there, and human rights are being neglected. Or is it because we’re still fighting for allies in a Cold War fashion?

If we’re so concerned about human rights, then why is no one interfering in Rwanda?

If the Cold War is over, then why is this still happening?

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Contemplations, Controversial Topics


Tags: , , , ,