It is not my intent to make any attempt to appear as a political pundit. :-) I am not. I imagine many would suggest, I keep my opinions to myself. However, I do occasionally feel a real calling to be brave enough to write about my own personal experience and observations, sometimes sharing a perspective I am still pondering myself. It is in some ways cathartic. Today, I am so moved.
This morning, I heard on the Sunday morning talk shows again that "Hillary Clinton was holding solidly to the mature white women's vote. Well, as much as I would love to witness a women winning a Presidential contest and moving into the White House --- and have dreamed, hoped, and worked toward women's advancement with this idea some day in mind, Hillary does not have my vote. My reasons have nothing to do with her being a woman. They do have a lot to do with her leadership example in this campaign. My disappointment has been drawn from watching her behavior and listening to her message.
I have never wanted to see a woman in the White House that used the same, tired, broken, mean-spirited methods that often put a candidate's integrity into question. Hillary had an opportunity of a lifetime to do something really unique and different --- she's worked hard for it --- with a measurable lead in the beginning. It has been sad to watch and listen to her squander the opportunity to win big as she chose to move in and out of employing the "victim" technique, the half-truth approach to make a point, the desperate injection of race in order to win --- violating the integrity of her espoused beliefs and work for years, and the full-out assault of "sticks and stones" disparagement against Barack Obama --- especially, when any minor mistake is seized with a gloating, self-righteous tone. These are not behaviors that are any more becoming to woman than they are in men.
What is also notable, if one has watched the campaign carefully, is that this kind of rhetoric was introduced by Hillary Clinton into the campaign and it has resulted in domino effect in distorting, diminishing, and detouring the significance of this election and the discussion of the real issues of the people for days and sometimes weeks at a time. I don't mean that Hillary carries the full responsibility, but her campaign struck the match for the firestorm that has followed. It has forced other candidates into pointless discussion of side issues. I do not believe these are the leadership qualities that I want in a president, man or woman. Such methods are unnecessary for accomplished individuals --- including an accomplished woman like Hillary.
I don't know about you, I would like to have a president I can respect; imperfect in their humanness, but big enough to admit it. I want a leader that is honest and direct above all --- one that carries a vision for a new direction and leadership example that will radiate across the world --- one that demonstrates the "content of their character" in this process.
Years ago, I sat in the 4th row, center, when Hillary spoke as First Lady in San Francisco at a woman's political event. She was captivating, optimistic, and stood there on her own merit. Excellence speaking for itself. When I watch this new cynical, sometimes nasty, finger-pointing person --- that avoids admission of mistakes as if it is a weakness, and chooses "the kitchen sink" instead of the authenticity of all she has been blessed to achieve and accomplish----- I ache at the contrast I see in what Hillary appears to have become in the process, needlessly.
When I hear the real pundits talk about this political battle like it has to be this way --- "fair game," it reminds me that if we accept this kind of "sticks and stones" strategy as the only way, we will be living by what I learned one time in a leadership class: Unless things change, they stay the same.
Can we afford more of the same?
author and founder, President and CEO
Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies
New Book! Putting Our Differences to Work (June 2008)
Learn more: www.puttingourdifferencestowork.com