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Beware Your Leaders

I've long thought that the greatest impediment to the advancement of the civil-rights movement is the leadership of the civil-rights movement. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the like inspire (intentionally, I believe) division and angst where none need exist, personally profiting from the perception of victimization but thereby alienating their cause.

This syndrome can just as easily affect a political party. Thus, Democrats attempted to portray Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and the Tea Party as de facto leaders of the GOP. These attempts generally failed, but the GOP has been laboring to provide its own red meat for the grinder. RNC Chair Michael Steele has been an embarrassment and general disgrace from the onset, and continues to make headlines with his unprecedented and shady spending.

Party leaders generally ought to be distinguished (by longevity or merit) members of Congress or sitting presidents. A president is an obvious and inevitable leader, but the out-of-office party may find itself without a discernable head - or sporting a multitude of heads. Both are generally unsightly conditions. Nonetheless, peripheral characters, such as Palin, Romney, Huckabee and Steele, are dangerously unaccountable. They may work mischief without being personally held responsible by voters (unless they attempt to run for something) - the party suffers for their sins.

Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Sessions, Pence and Ryan spring to mind as genuine GOP leaders. Insofar as a character such as Steele shares the stage, all the more pressing is the need to divest him of his authority.

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The 'civil rights movement' dissipated around about 1971 for a lack of objects. Sharpton and Jackson are not 'civil rights leaders'. Jackson is a vocational ethnic particularist whose methods have been dubious at times and who has little to show for his efforts. Sharpton is a political harlequin whose whole adult life has been one long theatrical scam. These people are unfortunate distractions but not in-and-of themselves much of an impediment to anyone's advancement. Keep in mind that those distracted are not unwillingly distracted. It would be helpful for the black population to have a leadership stratum with some constructive objectives they were willing and able to sell to the black public, but such objectives can be implemented without the support of that 12% of the population.

As for Gov. Huckabee or Gov. Palin, there is nothing any more dangerous about their public advocacy than there is about anyone else's. If you are distressed at the thought of opinion-mongering by those not elected officials, you ought to cease and desist with your own.

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