By Alexandra (originally posted July 4, 2023 on her Flickr page)
Just me, with foot askew.
I was thinking of something in the shower yesterday. I do a lot of thinking in the shower. And on this day, a celebration of U.S. independence, something of substance emerged from my musings.
In American culture, and clearly in many other cultures, leaders are revered and followers not so much. We admire leaders, especially those that are “good,” and love to hate leaders with darker ambitions. We’re even fascinated by leaders who are monstrous, capable of murdering millions. In my experience, and in my reading, most leaders fumble about, guided mainly by arrogance and whim and rarely by reason and compassion. A few “leaders,” for example, created the nightmare that was World War I.
But what of followers? Are followers lemmings? Drones? Idiots? No. Followers are a mix of all that remain, those who do the actual work. The forgotten. The rarely profiled and written about. The common man and woman. Most have little or no desire to lead for to do so is to invite hubris, unwanted attention, the potential to hurt and even kill. Followers actually build civilization. They…we…do our thing and make the world go ’round.
I am proud to be a follower. I have no desire to be a CEO, though I like working for one who has her shit together. I have no desire to manage, even though I must do so for our company to be successful. I have no desire to be a director of a movie, though I would love to work behind the scenes. I have no desire to be President of the United States, though it would be marvelous to be a policy advisor in the White House. I have no desire to lead an army into battle, though I have no problem marching behind a commander with strategic and tactical genius. I have no desire to win a Nobel Prize in some scientific or peaceful pursuit, though I enjoy the results of work conducted by those that have.
Following is not something to be ashamed of. Unless you follow the wrong leader. And this happens far too often. Ask yourself who you chose to follow.
Are they of exceptional character and compassionate? Are they intelligent, well-read, and worldly? Are they versed in the sciences and arts? Do they exhibit critical thinking skills? Do they have wit, poise, dignity, and all those other things representative of the ideal human condition? In short, are they good people?
Or are they shifty, ignorant, and devoid of character? Are they wracked by mental illness masquerading as confidence and strength? Have they shunned books, people who look and act differently from themselves? Use religion as a prop? Speak poorly and dress as buffoons? Bark instead of speak?
Part of the problem is that one person’s good leader is another’s poor leader. And that means that the leader isn’t the one with power, the follower is. And that, I suppose, is the point I’m trying to make.
The lady in the background is thoroughly unimpressed 😀
Dress: Rabbit Shoes: Katy Perry Hosiery: Cecilia de Rafael