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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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