Changing Leaders or Followers?


A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu

Today’s lament dwells on the quality of leadership. Here and in the United States.

I never saw the kind of behavior that everyone who can’t accept the reality that their candidate lost and they still reject the legitimately elected one. Up till now.

And so many fingers are being pointed just about anywhere for the kind of leader that is in place, even if legitimate.

What does that say about us? Plenty.

But first of all, take a closer look at the dynamics. When these new leaders presented themselves, they made no bones about who they were, what they stood for and didn’t mince on their language.

Yet, they still captured the imagination of enough people to merit a constituency big enough to be declared the winner.

That says quite a bit about how the message they sent resonated with the people who voted for them.

Yet the bile, the vitriol, the seething anger continues. Online and on the streets in some parts of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Will it ever end? Your guess is as good as mine.

But one thing for sure, there are at least four to eight years (in the case of the Americans) and six years here to either experience or endure the change that was sought and is expected.

In the Philippines, so much is being ranted about – yet, I have to note that for the first time in so many years, things we thought would never be solved are finally being addressed.

Let’s look at just two: “laglag bala” and the illegal fish pens in the Laguna Lake.

We gained the notoriety of being one of the world’s worst airports and we were given the scepter for the phenomenon of the magically appearing bullet in the luggage of departing passengers.

To be sure, there were more shenanigans being reported, but this one made it’s way to international news media as well, making the Philippines another risky laughing stock.

Until it was finally put to a stop. Finito. And it had to take a hard, quick decision by a composite team headed by three of my retired classmates who were tapped to work in the airport to make things better. I take cognizance of them: former Cadets Allen Capuyan, Romy Labador and Jumo Junio of the Class of 1983.

What took them less than one year to get done could not be addressed by the previous administration for at least four years. Need we ask why?

Or the Laguna Lake – now being cleared of illegal fish pens: what couldn’t be done by the past five Presidents is now being done by a feisty woman who wants to make sure we have a cleaner environment. By the time we get to the next issue, I’m sure we’ll have a cleared lake.

What else can we expect?

We still have to see what the coming weeks and months will bring, but so far, things are being done – especially the things that people have wanted done for a long time now. We can probably assume that more of the same is coming.

The leaders went up front when they heard the clamor of the crowd. Even if it was unspoken. They felt the silent rage of the crowd and heeded it.

It takes a leadership that listens to make a difference.

And guess what? The followers are satisfied. Because they feel that they did it as well.

Did we change leaders? I think the followers changed. That’s why they chose better.

I hope.

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