Another day; another headline about the failures – both professional and personal – of the people who are supposed to be in charge.
And we find ourselves in a world that, perhaps more than ever before, is mistrustful of those in positions of leadership and authority; cynical and even antagonistic towards them. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.
Where are the heroes?
Those men and women who challenge and inspire us, who chasten and cajole us, who speak the language of hope; those people of courage and compassion who stand for the things that matter more – and who offer leadership of a kind that causes us to come, running.
I looked for Leadership…
I looked to Parliament – to those two great Houses, where giants of the political past strode the stage. But, beyond the women and men of real character, I found a triumph of soundbite over substance; of expedience over conscience; of short-termism and self-interest over service.
I looked to the City – to those endless tall towers where the income generators and wealth creators ply their trade. But, amongst the boom, I found the bust – the bonus bloated, rate fixing governance of greed.
I looked to the Church – and found less love than I had been led to believe would be there. In so many places, I found more religion than faith – and a mass of people who seemed clearer about what they were against than what they were for.
I looked to the Public Sector – those charged with the nurture of youth, with the care of the sick and with the prevention & detection of crime. Amongst those extraordinary and high callings, it seemed to me that, somehow, targets had come to matter more than people – that those at the top had lost their way and had chosen to bow at the altar of the number gods.
I looked to the Media – the free press – and, among the campaigning journalists with a righteous cause, I found the phone-hackers, the agenda-chasers, the score-settlers and the compromise of truth.
I looked to the Online World – that totem of progress and human achievement – and found an ungoverned chaos filled with horrors of every kind; one where fanatics and abusers are given voice and space.
I looked to America – the so called ‘Leader of the Free World’ – and found a nation divided by racism and inequality; torn apart by the madness of gun crime and the relentlessness of fear. But I heard a President sing ‘Amazing Grace’ – and something in me stirred.
I looked in the mirror and saw a stumbling pilgrim with all manner of failings and flaws – a man in need of some of that grace.
But, in the midst of it all, I remained a believer in hope – a hope based on experience; based on real lives…
• the MP for whom it really is all about a concern for those who live at the margins of society
• the Financier for whom it really is all about the flourishing of the many and not just the privileged few
• the Chief Constable for whom it really is all about people – those we serve and those we serve alongside
• the Priest for whom it really is all about loving thy neighbour
• the Journalist for whom it really is all about the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
I know they’re out there… I’ve met them. I’m glad to count some of them as my friends – and I know they’re not the only ones.
There are good and true leaders to be found in every walk of life – in every trade and profession; in every rank and grade; in every neighbourhood and community.
Now is their time.
Now is the time for heroes.