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OTHER VIEWS

Leaders must solve problems or be replaced

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By Hezekiah Brown
Columnist

Sunday, July 21, 2019

As I evaluate the status of our country and world events regarding basic human rights, relationships, and problem-solving, I conclude that we are in both an internal and external quandary that can only lead to more unnecessary conflict and violence. The unfortunate part is most individuals involved have not taken time to identify or evaluate the issues that continue to lead us down the path of separation and destruction.

I ask, what happened to the compassionate conservative? Where are the insightful liberals? Whatever happened to the ideals and principles upon which our country was founded, that justice shall prevail and all men are created equal? Respect, forgiveness, responsibility, love thy neighbor, do unto other as you would have them do unto you, when my brother hurts, I hurt; these principles seem to have been declared obsolete.

Instead, we are divided by political affiliation, race, trade wars, sanctions, threats of war, foreign policy, voter suppression, north, south, east, west, blue states, red states, religion, age, gender, wealth, poverty, abortion, guns, violence, bullying, same-sex marriages, health care, the minimum wage, infrastructure, immigration, the environment, climate change, and education.

The failure of our representatives to successfully address these important issues in a humanistic manner has created an environment of hate, fear and animosity which has spread through a large part of the country. In addition, this universal hostile environment has generated an increase in Neo-Nazi, Klux Klan and other hate groups. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the number of hate groups operating across America rose to a record high of 1,020 in 2018. It was the fourth straight year of hate group growth.

Racism and anti-Semitic violence continue to plague the country following the same escalation path as that of hate groups. In addition, there also has been an increase in physical violence in places like churches, schools, workplaces and nightclubs. It is apparent to me that too many of our elected representatives have given up on solving problems and resorted to street fighting, character assassination, and name calling. They only attempt to solve problems through crisis management and one-upmanship. The small number of attempts at negotiation that take place are influenced by derogatory name-calling and embarrassing personal attacks and end in failure. It is no longer about the people, or the problem, it’s about the next election and who can win the finger-pointing blame game.

I have outlined why we have reached a point of near anarchy where problems are not being resolved by elected representatives at the highest levels of our federal, state, and some local governments. I contend their failure is why our country is so badly factionalized. We now have a generation of children adversely affected by violence and discord. Each day brings us another atrocity and still there appears to be little or no attempt by our leaders to reconcile differences. Therefore, it is time for the general public to make a statement. Our representatives must learn to problem-solve or be replaced.

I believe that they must learn six basic principles. Basically, they are: introspection, respect, understanding, empathy, acceptance and flexibility.

Things won’t always be peaceful; nor will every resolution come peacefully. However, when we accept that conflict will happen, we can also accept that we will do our part to manage the conflict with as much respect as possible.

Successful problem-solving involves mutual gains, not winners and losers. If our elected representatives commit themselves to the above principles, we can create an environment in which our children and their children can grow and prosper without fear and hostility.

Hezekiah Brown is a resident of Elizabeth City.