Monday, May 31, 2010

Real Leadership

With the recent election in the city of Trenton, many are wondering if the tide has truly changed and a new day has begun or are we simply making way for more of the same old political dealings. I, for one, hope and pray that things will truly be different this time around. Indeed, it doesn't take a genius to see that there is something deeply rotten in the city of Trenton and it’s not those well-known Pork Roll sandwiches everyone talks about. All jokes aside, the city is and has been, truly in dire need of fundamental transformation, not simply on an economic or political level, but also morally and spiritually. Saddled with an unmistakable budget crisis, failing schools, and unacceptable levels of crime, there's no doubting that the new mayor (whoever that might be) has a lot on their hands. However, we must never overlook the job left undone by everyday people like you and I. We have to stop playing the blame game by pointing fingers at everyone but ourselves. We must take more responsibility for our community’s ills. True leaders whether you find them in an executive office at Merrill Lynch or making Double Whoppers with cheese at a local Burger King understand that real leadership involves taking ownership of an issue and asking the fundamental question: where do we go from here?

So, instead of constantly cursing the darkness, why not have the audacity to light a candle? Now of course I’m being rhetorical, but the larger point I’m making is rather straightforward. We have to be frank and state unequivocally that people are far too concerned about complaining about gang violence but are lax in nurturing their own children and making sure their homes are in order. If we tend to our families and homes with love and care, they will be less susceptible to the whims of gangs and other fringe groups. We need to stop railing against the local police department for what they are not doing and instead have the guts to speak out and tell the truth about the wrongdoing we witness everyday in our community. This ‘no snitching’ philosophy is cowardly and sends a message to gangs in the area that they somehow have a blank check to do as they please. This must be abruptly curtailed. Moreover, why in the world do so many moan and groan about the streets being cluttered with debris and other rubbish when no one has thought of taking one Saturday afternoon to ask your neighbors if they want to get together and help clean their respective blocks. Where is the courage, the moral outrage??? It seems as though it’s nowhere to be found. However, don’t get me wrong, the onus should not rest merely on one particular sector of the city. Improving Trenton involves a collective effort on the part of all of us. You don’t have to be a mayor, councilperson, or what have you to make a difference. All of us can make a difference in our own unique way. Stop making those tired excuses and start redirecting that energy into planting those precious seeds of righteousness so that the dark cloud of moral and spiritual malnutrition may be overcome. Now is not the time for political apathy and civic disengagement, now is the time for bold action. Will you join me on this difficult yet exhilarating journey to improve our broken yet repairable world? The choice is yours.

by Anwar Salandy