What makes a leader?

Published Brownsville Herald January 17, 2012

We now have a peek at what our political leaders and potential political leaders are like, and to be candid I am certainly less than happy with any of them, from the highest in the land to our local community.
The best choice available will be the best of the poor choices.
One reason that sticks out is that the best candidates have jobs (not necessarily political) that they are successful at. They cannot take a two-, four- or six-year vacation and stay competent during that vacation.
One of the things Gov. Rick Perry has advanced is to limit the activity of Congress to part time. It seems to work here in Texas as well as full-time legislatures work anywhere else. I think the idea has considerable merit.
It is advanced that the legislators of this branch would be nearly crippled in their ability to understand complex issues and act on them. It appears that only the sponsor and some of the leaders in any legislature have more than a nodding understanding. In the last terms Congress did not even have the bills to read; many bills were cumbersome and compiled especially to make them difficult to understand. It makes more opportunity to focus benefits on friends.
Why not require each bill to be clear, concise and understandable so that it can be published for the public to read and give their representative their thoughts on the issue? Then the representative would spend the voting part of the term and the end of the term. The public would have a better view of the legislator’s response to the wishes of the constituency.
It is also asserted that when legislators are absent from Washington most of the year, government employees and lobbyists, neither of whom are elected, would lobby the elected administrator every day to carry out the “people’s” work. I really don’t see a change.
If the legislator is present with his or her constituency, the votes would be better understood and reflect the folks’ desires.
The big issue is, whom do we recruit?
We need individuals who have the sense of duty and understand bureaucracy. My first choice would be someone has served successfully in the military, a senior enlisted or former officer. Those individuals would certainly understand how the bureaucratic system works and how to secure support for the needs of the unit he or she belongs to.
What better experience could you have? As an alternative perhaps we could find a mom who has successfully raised some children.
The training gained there is current and incomparable. Experience in making and keeping to a budget as well as the costs you must pay when one stretches those credit reserves is very much on point.
Perhaps we need to put up signs like those of just a few years ago: “We need you.”
I have been following the sad issue of the shooting death of Jaime Gonzalez Jr. and my heart goes out to his family in their time of sadness and perplexity. I can also easily understand the shock and overpowering drive to reach out and seek redress for the loss that can never truly be satisfied.
I can also easily understand that horrible sick feeling in the pit of the stomach that the officers might have felt when a life is taken, no matter what the circumstance. In both cases those feelings might never go away and could require lengthy counseling.
I have a little insight, as I spent a career in the military and law enforcement. I am also a dad and worry continuously about both my children who live far away.
In this case it appears that the officers were confronted with a young man brandishing what appeared to be a Glock semiautomatic, 9mm handgun, but turned out to be a pellet pistol. Those also could be very dangerous.
The officers appeared to take extraordinary risks in giving the young man several opportunities to drop the weapon and diminish the risk to the children and teachers on campus and themselves.
A whirlwind of thoughts and alternatives were probably swirling in the minds of the officers. The worst case, just as we have seen on TV, always comes to the forefront. Were the young man to have taken the officers’ delayed action as weakness, and he were to start firing all of the potentially fourteen shots, the officers could lose their lives as could as numerous children and staff.
My heart also goes out to those officers who delayed taking action until hope of a resolution was lost to them. Surely, they had younger brothers or children that weighed heavily.
I hope that for all concerned this horrible experience can be put to rest so that all those involved can have the time to deal with their grief.