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If you do not want to be led, then why do you demand leaders

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It was an odd incident that stands out now only because of its oddness. It happened during a business trip to a distant city. I had become lost that early Sunday morning and was now late for my flight. In my anxious search for the airport, I felt a growing frustration at being lost. I could only wonder how I had come to the point where I was desperately driving the empty back streets of some nameless industrial area deep within the urban confines of this major metropolis.

The morning was rainy and blustery; the buildings were low, flat, box structures all of a drably uniform, cement-grey, colour. Each block-long building partition contained several small doors sunk into a windowless, cement wall. The sameness of the scene was mind-numbing and gave the impression of my being a rat lost in a maze.

As I turned another corner and came upon another empty street, I noticed a faint patch of colour. Actually, it wasn’t so much a difference in colour as it was a different shade of drab; a patch of washed-out brown in an otherwise grey universe. Drawing abreast of the drab, brown, colour, I could see that it was a human figure hunched over a steaming grate, with its head bowed between its knees.

The brown turned out to be a patched, military, greatcoat and the figure’s head was covered with a well-worn fedora. In desperation, I stopped the car and took the three steps required to reach the apparently sleeping figure. It was then I noticed a tin cup and a soiled, dog-eared sign, cast carelessly on the ground that read: RIDDLES – $1.00.

I didn’t need any more riddles that day, but I prayed my dollar might obtain information directing me out of my present inner-city riddle to the airport and my departing flight.

As I reached for my wallet for the dollar fee, the figure stirred and looked up. The face under the old, worn fedora stopped me cold, it was hideous.

Once it had been the face of a man, but now one side of the face was melted plasticine that had oozed down the rigid structure of a skull. Most noticeable within that misshapen mass of scarred flesh, was a dead, yellowed, sightless, eye staring past me into the grey void of that cold, windy, morning. The other side of the face, although normal, was old and lined from endless years of wear and toil, the good eye is drawn to a slit from the relentless wind.

I opened my mouth, but before I could speak, the horrific apparition addressed me in a low, gravelly, voice that issued from the intact side of the face.

Standing there, open-mouthed with a dollar in hand, I listened as the bizarre-looking street beggar gave me clear, concise directions to the airport. Then, without hesitation, he closed his good eye and stared at me with that baleful, yellowed, sightless eye.

While my focus riveted on the dead, sightless eye, a detached voice said: ‘Here is your riddle, if you do not want to be led, then why do you demand leaders? If you want to be led, then why do you expect leaders to follow your demands?’ With that, the figure bowed his head and again became an inanimate patch of brown in a grey world. I was late, very late. Still speechless I bent over and stuffed a bill into the tin cup. A moment later, I was back in my rented car, speeding to the airport.

As I ran up to the loading gate, trench coat and briefcase in hand, I could see my flight being pushed back from the Jetway. Thoroughly exasperated, I dumped myself into a nearby seat. All my thoughts were on the impossibility of making my flight out in time. I tried to focus in order to overcome a fast-approaching blue funk, but my racing thoughts would not allow such diversion. It was obvious that I would now miss the election returns. The voting registration and balloting results I had gathered would now be useless information, yesterday’s news.

At last, I exhaled a deep, long breath in the acceptance that my efforts had been wasted. I threw my head back to find a news broadcast flashing on an overhead monitor. Although unable to hear over the din of surrounding noise, it was clear the election was over. It had been terminated early when the incumbent threw in the towel and conceded defeat.

The victors cheered ecstatically, congratulating each other as the newly elected president tried hard not to gloat over his victory. Somewhere in the background, a talking head discussed election details with some know-nothing, TV personality.

In retrospect, the incident now seems surreal, perhaps more like a scene from a Fellini movie than real life. But I can still see the all too real, baleful gaze, of that dead, yellowed, sightless, eye and I still ponder that riddle that issued from a twisted, melted, mouth with wonder at their meaning: ‘If you do not want to be led, then why do you demand leaders? If you want to be led, then why do you expect leaders to follow your demands?’

That was the last time I worked in the election process, in fact, that was the last time I voted. I realised those leaders whom I had worked so hard to elect in truth had no more right to run my life than I did theirs.

If I really wanted a voice in government, I needed to vote on issues, not promises made by leaders. Moreover, I needed a vote that could not be countermanded or rescinded by any leader. I discovered what I had sought all along was a system whereby people lead, not elected leaders. What I really wanted was true democracy instead of the sham called representative democracy.

It is strange that Americans think they live under a democratic system; that democracy means a chance to vote on a representative. This in fact is not democracy, but a Republic. By nature, Republics are a form of oligarchy, a point made unstintingly clear in Plato’s work The Republic. By contrast, democracy has no leadership roles. The people decide directly over matters affecting their lives. In the end, I realised that my vote was nothing more than an endorsement of the Republican system of representational leadership.

Thus, my vote was an open concession to leadership by an elected representative. In my accepted role as a follower, I had conceded any further role in the decision-making process. It would now be left up to the leadership to make decisions for me. Whatever their decision, I now had no choice but to accept, as my vote had blindly put all my trust in their decisions.

Democrat, Republican, third party, makes no difference, when we demand leadership, we cannot expect any leader to follow our demands and what does it matter to followers who are chosen to lead when their accepted role is simply to follow the leader?

EDITORS NOTE: The Reich’s National Socialist electoral system was inspired by the Athenian statesman Pericles: To strengthen democracy, Pericles increased the number of public officials who were paid. Earlier in Athens, most positions were unpaid. This made it hard for less wealthy people to hold government jobs. Now even the poorest citizen could serve if elected. Pericles described Athenian democracy as a system of government where men advance on merit rather than on class or wealth. In a democracy, ‘class considerations [are not] allowed to interfere with merit’ Any man capable enough to rule is allowed to do so.

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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL, AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS,  THE LAST GLADIATORS, A Leopard in Liverpool, RISE OF THE SUN WHEELEUROPE ARISE, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, THE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

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