12/29/12 — Resolutions: There are lots of 'to-dos' ahead for local, state and national leaders

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Resolutions: There are lots of 'to-dos' ahead for local, state and national leaders

When you sit down and think about it, it is staggering just how much should be on the "to-do" lists of leaders at the local, state and national levels in the coming year.

From the economy to simply finding a way to get along and to stay in touch with what the citizens really need -- and trying to stay out of trouble themselves -- 2013 is going to be a busy year.

But there are a few rules, a few quid pro quos and other basic bits of advice that could help all of them as they prepare to create leadership that truly functions in the best interest of the people it serves.

So, here they are (in no particular order):

Rule 1: Get this through your head: This is not about your ego, your career or your political legacy. It is about us, your employers, and what will help keep this country strong, prosperous and on the right track in the new year.

Rule 2: We know that for some of you, promises are just something that you toss out for election purposes. You do not mean or understand their import or consequences and you do not care. Be aware that we are on to you -- and we will hold you to what you say and responsible for how you vote. No hiding this year.

Rule 3: Your party did not put you in office, and it cannot keep you there. Truth is, we expect you to think for yourself, not with a predetermined agenda and a spokesperson ready with your response on key issues that matter to us. That will be especially true at the local level this year. Speak up, vote with your conscience and do not let anyone act as your proxy. Otherwise, we do not need you in office.

Rule 4: No one party has all the answers. There are flaws in all of your logic and in many of the proposals you put forth to run this nation. There are Republican principles that could make a significant change in this country's future, but there are Democratic ideas that would make them even stronger -- and vice versa. Have the wisdom to know when the time has come to compromise and when the time has come to hold your ground.

Rule 5: If you worry about how to stay in office, you won't be there long. You cannot please the electorate with every vote and every comment -- and truth be told, it is just like when you were a kid, we know when you are not sincere and your comments and votes do not match your true beliefs and agenda. It is a rare politician who can use smoke and mirrors to keep his seat for decades. Most of you do not fall into that category. Speak honestly and with your true motivation and thoughts paramount. We will respect you more, and you just might make a difference.

Rule 6: Polls are only vital analytical tools to out-of-touch network news anchors and political pundits who use them as a substitute for actually getting out and talking to real people. Want to know what we think? Appear in our community once in a while and ask us. We have wisdom to share. (Are you listening Sen. Kay Hagan?)

Rule 7: Get ready. You are going to say something stupid and make a move that is going to make people scratch their heads and call you incompetent. You are still human and capable of incorrect statements, wrong decisions and ignored potential consequences, just like all the rest of us. But when you are filleted for the mistakes, stand up, admit the error and move forward. Don't try to spin it. That is how you earn respect.

Rule 8: You have not been anointed, received a tablet on a mountaintop or otherwise been chosen because of some extra special wisdom. We hired you because we think you can do the work that needs to be done. This is a job interview, and we expect to see performance. Being personable and photogenic is not enough -- and neither is being a good speechmaker. Man up (or woman up) and show us that you understand the trust that has been placed in you and strive to earn that respect every day. Otherwise, prepare to look for a new job. (Are you listening, Gov. Beverly Perdue and newly minted Gov.-elect Pat McCrory?)

Rule 9: Don't believe your own press. There will be plenty of people around you who will tell you what you want to hear. They won't allow you to hone your positions or to perfect your leadership skills. They won't allow you to see when you are failing and when you need to adjust your game plan. Seek those who challenge you and remain open to new ideas. (Are you listening, President Barack Obama?)

And last but not least, Rule 10: Remember that this is still the greatest nation with a history of courage, achievement and freedom that is the envy of the world. Safeguard it, lead it and hold it safe and sound. We are counting on you.

Published in Editorials on December 29, 2012 10:59 PM