Why Bad Leaders Can Be a Good Thing

Why Bad Leaders Can Be a Good Thing

Change can happen no matter who is in office.
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Even before the election results were in, it was clear that most Americans would be disappointed. In a head-to-head matchup between the two most hated presidential candidates in recent memory, not many Americans had any reason to look forward to the next four years. In the long run, however, dissatisfaction can be a good thing.

When the public is happy, our appetite for progress dwindles. We’re far more willing to overlook social injustice and flaws in our system so long as we like our leaders and feel good about the state of our country. Historically, however, the greatest changes in America have come through widespread discontent in society.

For starters, the very existence of the United States is the result of dissatisfaction with bad leaders. Ever since the Revolutionary War, rebellion has been hardwired into the American consciousness. Admittedly, that’s not always a good thing. It’s also true that placing our faith in our leaders produces a more stable society. However, the fact remains that frustration with our leaders places the burden of change on the American people, whereas satisfaction can allow us to grow complacent.

The 1970s are remembered as a troubling time for the United States, due in no small part to the Watergate scandal. Upon realizing that President Nixon had been wiretapping his political rivals and using burglars to do his dirty work, the American public seemed to lose all faith in the executive branch. When Nixon was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, conspiracy theories about a “corrupt bargain” between the two abounded.

While the Watergate scandal was a tragic moment for America, it forced the public to confront the reality of corruption at the highest levels of government. It was also a triumph of investigative journalism, thanks to the role of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the discovery of the scandal and subsequent cover-up. This undoubtedly led to the harsher media coverage of presidents and candidates we see today, and we’re better off for it. If media outlets were to discover incriminating information about a candidate and keep it to themselves, that would be a far more concerning scenario. If someone wants to become president, we should leave no stone unturned in their past.

On the topic of Richard Nixon, I think it’s important to remember that bad leaders can still accomplish good things. Nixon was one of the most corrupt people we’ve ever had in the White House, but he had a number of successful diplomatic endeavors. He made history as the first president to visit the Soviet Union and communist China, reestablishing diplomatic ties that helped end the Cold War. During his administration, America finally pulled troops out of Vietnam in 1975, after nearly twenty years of fruitless U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

Speaking of the Vietnam War, it’s worth pointing out that the previous president, Lyndon B. Johnson, escalated the conflict based on false pretenses. In 1964, the Johnson administration reported that North Vietnamese forces had attacked two American vessels in international waters, in what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. You can read all about the shady details here, but the basic story is that the Johnson administration misconstrued these events to the public and congress in order to justify expanding U.S. military presence in Vietnam.

One military historian has even suggested that Johnson did this primarily to dispel criticism of his supposedly weak foreign policy, thereby improving his odds in the upcoming election. Despite all of this, Johnson is still remembered today for signing the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 into law. He may have been behind the worst foreign policy decision in American history, but we can thank him today for outlawing workplace and housing discrimination and defending voting rights in America.

If we really believe in democracy, then the state of our society is not the responsibility of our leaders. It’s our responsibility as the public to create the kind of world we want to live in. If we want change, we have to vote, sign petitions, protest, and make our voices heard. This is what makes democracy so much harder than other systems, but also more potentially rewarding.
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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