Rank. What Rank?
In the military we used to say, “Rank has its privileges” and while it may seem that the saying applies only to the military it does not. If rank meant nothing in civilian life, then you would not have people lining up ready to be elected Texas Speaker of the House. From City Hall to Washington, Rank Rules. In Spanish there is a saying “Mejor Cabeza de raton que cola de león.” It is better to be the head of a mouse than the rail of a lion. Hence, rank.
So, I am no spring chicken. I have been around. Started at a very early age. My life has been one huge learning experience. I would like to share some of what I have learned with you. Rank comes in two forms, Permanent and Temporary. Back in the old days in the military (T) appeared after a rank when it was temporary. (P) was permanent. Those that have gotten promoted to the highest rank in the military do so because they are articulate. They know what button to push on everyone they come in contact with. The best description we had of a leader was the person that could take his men to the edge of the cliff and get them to jump over the cliff with enthusiasm. Leaders stand out.
We are entering election season where one of my bits of advice to candidates is elections are like gladiator events, if you can’t stand the sight of blood you need to get out of the arena. As I drive around I am beginning to see signs with the word “Conservative” on them. I remember the original conservative, Barry Goldwater. His brand of conservatism did not sell well with the American people. His idea of dropping Nukes did not go over well. In 1964, Goldwater was demolished by LBJ in the presidential election. In 1980, a new conservative was elected president. Ronald Reagan gave life to the Republican Party. It is the conservative model of Ronald Reagan that many have tried to emulate since then. They can’t. Many Latinos despise Reagan, just as there are people that love Trump.
There is probably not a single definition for a conservative politician. Remembering that once upon a time, the Texas Democratic Party was divided into two factions, a liberal wing and a conservative wing. It was Reagan that killed liberalism in America. Since Reagan, a conservative now is willing to deny a mother a life saving abortion. Conservatives now are willing to have convicted murderer own a gun. Conservatives want to deny liberals their constitutional right. Folks, the list goes on. I ask, is this the America that we want? Is this what I fought for? Are there people out there that are willing to bite off their nose to spite their face?
There is a case for leadership this election season. Elected politicians must do their part in going out and registering people to vote and motivating them to vote. Elected politicians need to become leaders. In the military we used to caution people that it was not the formal leader that you needed to fear but the informal leader that knew how to get things done. Formal leaders are surrounded by people that know how to make things happen.
Money has entered into local elections in unimaginable numbers. The only thing more powerful than money are votes. Votes are power. This is a personal message. Republicans, you are not going to be in charge forever. You need to tone down your extremist rhetoric. Democrats. What is your message? Learn how to lead. That means learn how to take charge. If you can’t, won’t or don’t know how to take charge, get out of the way. Trust me, there is always someone there to take your place.
PS, there is only one reason why Fort Worth does not have a street named after Cesar Chavez. Our elected politicians have not had to spine to stand up and justify the needed. It is easier to go along than to stand up and be counted.