Real leaders can pay high price for the examples they set
THERE has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about leadership.
In a political sense we've witnessed the latest unedifying thrust for power in Australia as yet another Prime Minister was cast aside to be crudely replaced for no apparent reason, or at least one not clearly articulated to the electorate.
The subsequent making over of ScoMo from tough and heartless protector of the national treasury and borders to the 'everyman' dad, cap headed and barbie-tending articulator of our "Orstralian" values, has been a thing of wonder.
From the heartless to a man touching his chest to speak from the "heart" in the heartland of his political party's foundation on the NSW-Victorian border, it's clear his script writers and strategists have devised a plan to take to the next looming federal election.
The polls will ultimately tell whether it may work to retain power and proves the reset a lagging government felt it needed. Whether it delivers Australia a vision beyond that for all our futures only time and the ballot box will tell.
Elsewhere the hapless Peter Dutton was learning just how ruthless the game of politics can be, ducking and weaving from accusation after accusation about the dispensation of grace and favour juxtaposed with his own heartless disinterest in those who truly need to be shown compassion and mercy.
He's gone, now facing inglorious defeat in his own electorate while those who helped thrust him up beyond reasonable expectation curry favour under Scott Morrison's newly-discovered benevolence.
In the United States, a country which once led the world, its President is increasingly being seen for what he is - a cartoonish, not-particularly-bright oaf with the grace of a rampaging hippo and the manners of a petulant child.
Whether his claims of "stable genius" and his reality TV honed schtick can fool Americans a second time at the ballot box will be measured by that country's mid-term elections in November.
What is certain is that in just two short years, Donald Trump has been reduced to a leader in name only diminished not just by his own behaviour but also that of the scoundrels who helped elevate him to power.
Elsewhere thankfully this past week I've been reminded people who are genuine leaders do exist.
On Wednesday I attended the funeral for a remarkable woman whose passing has gone largely unnoticed on the Sunshine Coast but who in her professional life showed the courage required of leadership and who suffered the awful price that can be paid by those who display it.
Lauren Jefferson had wanted to be a nurse since she was four years old, a noble ambition she not only realised but whose responsibilities she discharged with humour and absolute professionalism over a long career.
When she saw something wrong occurring in the hospital where she worked her faith and training left her in no doubt of both her moral and professional obligation to act in the best interests of her patients.
When she turned to her so-called leaders for support she was turned away, ultimately vilified and dismissed as a trouble maker while others protected image at the expense of honesty and to the detriment of patients.
Condemned to two years in the wilderness this highly-qualified and dedicated nurse took what jobs she could find while fighting successfully to restore both her reputation and her place in a profession she was born to.
Leadership is not always just about those to whom we bestow power but can lie in the way we conduct ourselves.
The United States professional footballer Colin Kaepernick has similarly displayed the courage and felt the cost of real leadership, through his use the platform of his sport to make a stance against the brutal dispensation of police power.
Vilified and mocked by his President and shunned by the NFL, his presence at the heart of Nike's branding of its new season apparel has again excited controversy. He too stands firm as an example of substance over manufactured image, his leadership displayed not only by the strength of his conviction but by his actions.
The devout Christian has displayed his faith through his charity, gifting one million dollars to organisations working in oppressed communities and exciting others to follow his example. While leadership has cost his job, it has earned a level of respect among his peers and won the backing of both veterans and police officers who recognise the undeniable truth of what he has sought to highlight.
Australia desperately needs political leaders with substance greater than crafted image and the momentary trappings of office.
Whether the ballot box can find them remains to be seen.