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Commonly Exceptional: Today’s Political Conundrum


The public expects its leaders to be both exceptional leaders and “average Joe’s” cut from the common cloth of society. We expect big ideas, but normal ways-of-life. Hobbies should be typical, boring and non-threatening, but deep within that noggin must burrow solutions to our most complicated of problems. Are politicians held to an impossible mode of evaluation? If we expect our leaders to solve the problems of our society and pave a golden road forward are they capable of coming from a common background? Do great leaders come from uncommon backgrounds and, if so, how do we explain their status as leaders? Must great individuals come from backgrounds that propel him/her to greatness? One wonders whether its possible for great leaders to come from common backgrounds. After all, if great leaders can come from the common cloth why are we not leaders? One might sense a lack of personal value and a stinging ding to one’s pride if the leaders can come from our common cloth.

Leaders choose their roles as leaders. Individuals who pursue positions of power do so with a foundational belief that his or her skills warrant power. “I am born to lead” may never be spoken, but deep within a leader’s mindset this perceived status is at the core of his or her sense of self. Beyond this personal belief, individuals who eventually reach positions where just the potential of leadership roles is possible only achieve consideration after accomplishment. No one simply grants leadership to random people: value is perceived and opportunities are provided.

As a means to plan where we head as a society, we have much to consider when deciding what template of leadership we desire. Do we want an individual with a common background whose life experience and ideas connect closely to our own? Or, do we want someone abnormal in experience and (perhaps) ideas. Innovative solutions come from brains that are not common and many of the problems challenging society require innovative ideas. We may need these innovative ideas to solve these problems. Yet again great danger hides in innovation and a figure unlike the common cloth may prove a hazard. It is a difficult decision to make, but when considering what type of leader we both want and need we must consider the mold from which these figures stem. Do we want the Apple known by all or something rather random.

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