Argument for the right not to exercise a right, Mr President

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and fix it just the way you like it.  I’ll wait.

Today we travel down the road of where many have traveled.  This road is one that those before us worked very hard and long to make smooth.  It is the road of leadership; paved with blood, sweat, and tears, made smooth by the pounding of feet by those who have walked before us.

The ability to lead is something a few are born with.  Even those with this inherent ability must hone their skill over their lifetime to ensure the ability stays fresh and relevant to changing societal needs and demands.  For the rest of us, it is a learned skill that took years to acquire and successfully implement.

That said, it took a long time for me to understand the difference between manipulation and leadership.  In my youth I was a consummate manipulator.  My father was often angry with me for taking short cuts by manipulation.  Before his death I finally understood and asked for his forgiveness.  I rest better knowing that I had that conversation with him.

It took years to understand and condense the difference into a bumper sticker statement.  It goes like this; manipulation is getting people to do what you want without the understanding of consequences that follow the action requested.  Leadership is getting people to do what you want with the understanding of consequences that follow the action requested.

I had to change my philosophy and how I treated people.

Two decades of leadership positions have given me the understanding to influence other leaders (in my charge) to lead and not manipulate their subordinates.  This change immediately improved motivation, attitudes, and retention.  No, not everything they were told to do was fun, exciting, or fulfilling.  It was what needed to happen.  With the proper leadership applied, circumstances for everyone around the organization improved.  After those things were accomplished came the fun, exciting, and fulfilling projects.

(sip coffee)

What this gave individuals in each organization was “free will”.  Their decision to accept the responsibility of the task at hand (with understanding of consequences) proved their “free will” remained intact.  This is done without manipulation applied to force their compliance.  You, the reader, must ask yourself if you are a manipulator or leader to your people.

(Lean back and ponder while holding cup)

Prior to this understanding the manipulation I used on individuals eventually came full circle.  I had huge messes to clean up.  Some took years to manifest.  Realizing the mistakes, I dedicated myself to learning the skill of leadership.  I put manipulation on the shelf.  This was not easy; as I am sure many readers are nodding their heads at this time with me.  However the payoff by changing how I approached people paid off immediately.  These investments into people continue to be fruitful even today.

With “free will” to decide, and full understanding of the situations and consequences, the individual now has an option to follow or turn away.  This is called choice.  The founding fathers put the word choice in the Constitution; it was spelled “Right”.  They understood that rights were something for someone to choose.  Members of the newly formed union were given rights to use or not.

The second amendment speaks of the right to bear arms.  This is not an order to follow.  It is a right, or choice, for individuals to exercise (or not).  For those who do not choose to exercise this right there are no consequences.  For those who choose to follow this right, there are were no consequences.  Same with all the other rights granted through the Constitution and amendments thereof.

The President, for the past 5 years, has spoken to the American public of the “Right” to healthcare.  As the leader of our country Mr. President, I ask that you stand aside and allow us to exercise our right not to exercise our “Right” that is not in the Constitution or amendments that lay out our rights.

(I leave that for you to ponder on for the rest of your cup)



De Oppresso Liber – Freeing the minds of liberals

Author: John Phillips U S Army (RET)

John retired from the Army. He lives with his family in Florida.

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