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Gary Winters

Leadership Coach

The Health Care Debate Brings Out The Best and The Worst in Leadership

The national debate over health care reform is bringing out the best – and the worst – in political leadership.

It’s not surprising that Americans increasingly distrust their leaders. What is often called “loyal opposition” is engaged in a calculated attempt to use the health care issue as a way to derail the President and cripple his administration. For many so-called leaders, the use of name-calling, fear-mongering, and outright deception is considered an acceptable way to lead the public.

A disclaimer: I voted for Barack Obama and I support most of the proposals he has put forth to reform health care.

That said, I welcome a real dialogue about alternatives which could help us reach true reform. These have been woefully few and far between.

Instead, the “loyal opposition” has determined that it must say no to nearly everything that is proposed by the party which happens to be in power, which happens to have been elected on a platform of sweeping change. They offer few proposals of their own.

Screaming about so-called Death Panels, killing Grandma, and a socialist agenda is not positive leadership.

It is effective, however. The polls indicate that more Americans are shifting their support and Mr. Obama’s job approval ratings are on the decline.

I dunno. Perhaps that’s okay with some people. I want to support positive leaders (on either side of the aisle, in the political arena).  I want to be proud of the people who are charged with making critical decisions that affect all Americans. I have voted for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, when their proposals and plans seemed to put forth a positive change for our country.

But the “debate” over health care has saddened and sickened me. It seems that we’re headed for a lowest common denominator solution that will offend no one, and probably fail to correct what’s wrong with our health care system. It’s a shame.

What are the lessons that can be learned from this spectacle?

I suppose one could conclude that leading from fear works. At least in the short term. But I would hope that by the end of this process, we’ll be able to see that leading with a positive vision is the superior stance. As I look back at the history of America, I see countless examples of vision trumping fear, beginning with the vision of a free and independent country.


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