By Senator Lena C. Taylor
An Unprecedented Failure of Leadership
To say that this year has been “one for the history books” is likely the understatement of the year! No matter your political ideology, social justice cause, cultural norm or socio-economic status, 2020 has stretched us thin. Many systems have been tested, compromised or outright broken. These failures have frequently been man made.
It was a man that decided to downplay the greatest health pandemic of the modern day. It was a man that decided it wasn’t “manly” to cover your nose and mouth to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It was a man who altered information and misled the public about the best response to the coronavirus. It was a man that contributed to the more than 327,000 people that have died, due to the COVID-19 health pandemic this country. It was a lack of leadership that allowed this to happen.
It was a man that mocked disabled reporters, disrespected gold star families and deliberately separated young children from their parents. It was a man that thought the best way to deal with survivors of Hurricane Maria and the thousands of U.S. citizens who died, was to visit and toss paper towels at them. It was a man that threatened to use a nuclear weapon against North Korea after threatening to unleash “fire and fury” so casually that it rattled allies around the world. It was a lack of leadership that allowed this to happen.
It was a man that degraded the office of the presidency, forced staffers to lie to the American people, bragged about shooting someone on 5th Avenue and bilked taxpayers out of millions of dollars to prop up his fledgling businesses. It was a man that weaponized our Department of Justice and told the world to distrust our national security agencies. It was a lack of leadership that allowed this to happen.
As we enter 2021, we face a number of unknowns. As we continue to hemorrhage jobs, worry about food and shelter insecurity and the disruption of the American way of life, the lack of leadership is a stinging slap to the face. Far too many elected to lead, protect and represent their constituents, forgot what leadership looks like. Instead, it was replaced with greed, power, cowering and fear. Political parties were prioritized over the well-being of country. Fair elections were threatened. There was a push to override the votes of the people and change the outcome of our presidential election. It was a lack of leadership that allowed this to happen.
As this year fades into the history books, we saw the masks or hoods removed from “leaders.” We witnessed the fissures and systemic weakness that were readily exploited. Men became sheep and were herded into submission. They disregarded their personal values and carried water for a man, that we found out was really no “man” at all. Leadership is groomed, sharpened and tested every day. In 2020, it is safe to safe there was an unprecedented failure of leadership. If we repeat this in 2021, we won’t survive.