To me leadership isn’t forcing people to behave the way you want, but making a good enough case to persuade, and leading by example. Our legislature in NC doesn’t feel the same way. To them leadership means forcing people to behave a certain way at the point of a gun, which in turn makes it convenient for them to ignore anyone who doesn’t fit their narrow definitions of the human experience.
Leading by example and persuasion is a tough path to walk. So much easier to force people to behave through guilt, fear, or threat of harm than to make a convincing case and demonstrate the benefits by living it. Christ made his case and then lived it. Our legislature for some reason thinks getting the outcomes (that they believe) He would have wanted is more important than the methods they use to achieve the outcomes, even though they invoke His name to justify their actions. It’s the last thing He would have wanted.
The whole point of “we are all sinners” is that the methods are more important than the outcomes. We won’t always get the outcomes you want, especially when the goal is to change other people’s behaviors. But we can consistently approach our mission, whatever it is, from a place of love and compassion and that’s what counts.
Sadly, our elected representatives lack the courage to lead by example and persuasion. They are in very visible positions of power. Why can’t they make a compelling case and then demonstrate the benefits of their belief in their daily life? Is it because they have no confidence that their case is compelling unless it is backed by threat of State violence? If they don’t have enough faith in their faith to risk letting people make up their own mind, why should we listen to them at all?
Instead they spread fear. They make secret back-room deals with wealthy campaign donors and rush bills through votes without proper review. They impose restrictions at the polls designed to favor their party while allowing the real election fraud to run rampant in the form of ghost voting in the legislature. They torture boundaries of voting districts for political advantage. And when it comes to influencing people’s moral behavior they do so at the point of a gun, approaching us from behind and prodding us toward their chosen goal.
HEY ELECTED PEOPLE: It isn’t leadership if you do it from behind. What you do is called herding. We don’t like it.
All of which is why I really like the anthology project being organized by John Hartness of Falstaff Books. Instead of asking people to change what they do and how they behave for the cause, he asks writers to write. He asks people capable of making that good case to make it in print, and he in turn will put it in front of readers. Whether those readers consume it as entertainment or with purpose matters less than exposure to the idea that we are all human beings worthy of the same basic human rights and dignities.
John and the participating authors have the courage to live their example, make their case, and trust us to make up our own mind. The project is just getting started and I have no idea what the finished book will look like, I only know that I’ll find more true leadership in those pages than I’d find if I spent a lifetime reading the accumulated output of our state legislature.
Want to submit a story? Want to buy or read the book? Follow along on Facebook or Falstaff Books at the links above. As of this writing, the call for submissions is as follows:
Call for Submissions – Charity Anthology – We Are Not This – Carolina Writers Against HB2 (subtitle subject to change)
Looking for writers with a strong connection to North Carolina to provide a 5,000 word or less story featuring an LGBTQ character for a fundraising anthology. Reprints accepted. Non-Exclusive print and digital rights requested. All proceeds donated to the NC Human Rights Campaign. Not accepting erotica. No other restrictions on genre.
Send submissions or queries to anthology [at] falstaffbooks.com. Word Doc, 12 Pt. Standard MSS format. No RTF files.
Poetry and non-fiction also accepted.
Deadline – June 1, 2016