What kind of leadership is this: Obama fighting for less accountability and more centralized power

July 19, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Leadership and politics overlap. I generally try not to take political positions on this blog to make it accessible to more people, but the push to increase surveillance and erode protections like habeas corpus seem enough like ineffective leadership that I feel compelled to cover them.

In response to this article stating that

Congress granted the president the authority to arrest and hold individuals accused of terrorism without due process under the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act of 2012], but Mr. Obama said in an accompanying signing statement that he will not abuse these privileges to keep American citizens imprisoned indefinitely

Note it says merely “accused.” Note it also says “indefinitely.”

I wrote the following on Hacker News (an entrepreneurial / geeky community site), which upvoted the comment highly. Click the link to read the discussion there.

If you want to influence someone, it helps to understand their motivations. I can’t conceive of what Obama has in mind with pursuing this law against resistance.

Is it not obvious to everyone the unwanted side-effects of this kind of power? Is it not obvious how much this flies in the face of the intent of the people who wrote the Constitution. Or more relevantly the Declaration of Independence? Obama is a lawyer! He’s intelligent. What can he be thinking? Did he forget the purpose and spirit of the Bill of Rights as he and advisors schemed to get around its letters?

Those revolutionaries would have all been labeled terrorists today. With the King in England, any colonist would have been an enemy combatant, stripped of rights, jailed or worse arbitrarily, and who knows what else.

Whether the United States has become what we rebelled against is not the question. If nothing changes, it’s only a matter of time. This country has gotten rid of slavery and overcome major hurdles of sexual and racial inequality. Let’s hope we have what it takes to overcome this centralization of power and unaccountability. And that we act on it.

I think accountability to the people being led is one of the leader’s most effective tools. I don’t see decreasing it leading to more effective leadership.

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