By Dave Roseleip
While working for many years in leadership development and training for the natural resource Industries, I learned how important it is to teach leadership in terms of civility, integrity, collaboration, the value of history, appreciation of the arts, the need for continuous innovation, education and improvement of the environment.
Focusing on developing up-and-coming leaders in this broad array of areas meant that we would have a future of civility, wise decisions, good public policy, understanding of other cultures, and the desire to improve on what we are currently experiencing. Leadership is, after all, driven by hope for the future and the utilization of what we’ve learned in the past to launch ourselves into a better way of life as we use the knowledge gained, take action, and get better results.
As part of our leadership program we traveled to third world countries to observe and learn. We found that third world countries basically focused less on the topics mentioned above and more on narrow, less wise choices such as building armaments and accumulating wealth for a few of its citizens with little regard for those in need. Lack of progress was mostly the result of a history of poor leadership in the country; leaders who generally care little about the people and more about their own self-aggrandizement.
Upon observing the current budget proposal from the Trump administration, I can’t help but think that it is a step toward taking us back to this third world mentality. It essentially reduces or eliminates the funding for programs that mean progress in quality of life for the country’s citizens. Instead, its focus is building greater armaments and a mindset of war, rather than diplomacy. The budget seeks to greatly reduce environmental funding, funding for the arts, funding for innovation and research, funding for education and funding for those who are in need and can’t help themselves. Surely, this is the wrong direction for a first-world country that has been blessed with the governmental system and resources we have.
I ask: Why go backward into a third-world mentality? Why accept leadership that is behind the times? Let’s build on the progress we’ve made, not tear it down.