Monday, December 8, 2008

A True Leader?

In Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, most of the characters are men hungry for political power. Caesar welcomed the idea of becoming an absolute dictator. The conspirators, excepting Brutus, envied Caesar's power and murdered him. After Caesar's fall, Mark Antony began plotting for more power.

Some believe that Antony's ability to sway an audience is a characteristic of a good leader. However, this is merely an oratorical skill. Mark Antony took over the podium after Brutus' speech, and took advantage of the people's shock and emotion to lead them to believe that all the conspirators were evil for ridding Rome of its leader.

Antony, sensing an opportunity for domination, knew that in the wake of Caesar's death, if he could persuade the common people that the conspirators were criminals, he could take over Rome. He merely used the citizens to climb the ladder of power.

Walt Disney once said, "Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence."

Antony did not show judgment, wisdom, or competence. He simply manipulated peasants to side with him in order to advance politically.

Many politicians today do the very same thing. Speaking eloquently with upbeat messages, sweeping generalities, and shameless propaganda, they win supporters by the thousands. While these orators have ultimate personal appeal, they are not always the honest, hard-working people we want leading our country.

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