For some reason, whenever I go to the eye doctor, I expect to get a good report on my vision. Sometimes I get one. Sometimes I don’t, but I am always hopeful. This year, I am truly hopeful that our leaders will have 20/20 vision so they can stop the warring attitudes and practices and the punishing behaviors toward the most vulnerable they have been chosen lead.
My prayer is for them to not just pray for, but work for a better and just world for all, no matter where people live, the color of their skin or the culture from which they come.
My dream is for world leaders to care about everybody’s children, that no child would be left behind, that every child would have access to a useable education. Years ago when young people graduated from high school, it was understood that all of them would not be going to college, so they were taught useable skills so that they could go to work to make a living right out of high school. Whatever some may think of those days, I want to see that part of our past come back.
Is it possible for all of us to give meaning to this year being 20/20? Let it be the cue for all of us to think about what we can do to show that we have clearer vision. With wars, poor education systems, injustices especially for women and non-white people, the unemployment rate with a lack of livable wages for so many, the lack of hope for too many people, and the desire for instant gratification — these things lead to desperation and other negative outcomes.
Too many leaders have lost that 20/20 vision of where we should be going such that nobody wants to, or sees the wisdom of following them. We’ve lost confidence in them because few of them seem to care about nothing more than their own well-being.
Former Gen. Colin Powell once said, “Leadership is a position of problem-solving which is conflict resolution. The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They’ve either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case, this is a failure of leadership.”
“Leadership is all about people,” he said. “It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered. None of us can change our yesterdays but all of us can change our tomorrows.”
There was a time that leaders convened with positive motives — really willing to compromise in order to accomplish great things for all the people. We, the people have a responsibility in electing and choosing leaders who make good on their promises once elected or chosen and not ones who just begin to flip flop on their promises depending on the way the wind blows or the money finds its way to their pockets. On that note, we the people must insist upon overturning the destructive Citizens United.
We, the people, must be determined that our leaders are qualified to lead. Just look at the man people elected to our White House has done to undermine certain members of his team. He is the total opposite of what a leader should be. He not only does not offer leadership for all the people, he does not offer leadership for vision to his team whose members might want to do the right thing. We, the people, must demand 20/20 visionary leaders.
Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.