True leaders do not “knee jerk”.
America, this is not how we do business. This is not how YOU should be doing business. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is not the image we want to the rest of the world to judge us by. This is not who we are.
It damn sure should never be who YOU are.
The tweet by Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal is at the core of what is wrong in this country right now. It screams a lack of leadership, a sense of integrity, and hint of responsibility in what we should strive to be every day. In every situation. Personally and professionally.
Level headed. Rational. Reasonable. Willing to discuss our issues instead of seeking a verbal or textual baseball bat with which to deliver them. Those who lead by example.
And before anyone starts tuning up, this is not about Left or Right. Democrat or Republican. Conservative or Liberal. Far flung anything. This is about learning that we should not, we MUST not, allow ourselves to devolve into nothing more than roving bands of despicable mobs and acolytes that destroy not just what America was founded upon, but when we, as everyday people, must strive to exemplify.
Leadership. Plain and simple. The trait that resides in us all, and has never before been so desperately needed.
Maria Chappelle-Nadal & that damned social media trigger finger.
Missouri Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal is an educated dual degree holder from Georgia State University. A former member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Elected by the people to serve as their Senator in 2011. She is no rookie when it comes to public life or public service. She, more than anyone, needs to understand the role of a leader, and the consequences of their words and actions.
Especially when not to use that power given to her by the people to call for the killing of a sitting American President.
Her Facebook response didn’t stay up very long. It didn’t have to. It now lives forever.
The next day, Senator Chappelle-Nadal was of course apologizing, seeking to save her career, using the excuse “I was frustrated”.
In the days since, the Senator has been removed from the nine committees she was assigned to, and is fighting off calls for her resignation.
Whether she does indeed resign or is forced out is not part of this discussion. While she did the right thing in removing the post and apologizing, that is not the point here.
The point is it never should have happened. The post should never have been conceived as something rational to do. It should have never crossed her mind as anything that would be proper.
We must as a Nation stop this destructive, reactionary, blind hate that spews from our lips and fingertips without caution or concern for whom it hurts and what it says about us as a people.
We must stop and think before we act.
Social media mistakes: Stupid is as stupid does.
I’m not fearful of printing that statement. It is exactly what I would say in any public or private forum, and have many times warned on these pages and in many speeches and workshops. From those who revel in posting content meant for no other reason than to insult others, to other members of Government at different levels who believe their station in life gives them permission to insult others for personal gain or vengeance, to those who use social media in ignorant fashion for self-promotion when the moment calls for greater reflection and less of the incessant “look at me!” nonsense that permeates our culture at the moment.
We have reached that time in our social development, our personal and professional sense of leadership and image, when excuses such as “I was frustrated” or “someone hijacked my account” or the even more nonsensical “I hit send by mistake” don’t cut it anymore.
If we are to be honest with ourselves, if we are to actually seek a higher level of integrity, honest, responsibility and accountability, then we must hold ourselves to higher standards. And we must start by ending this personally hurtful and career ending habit of using social media as a weapon to attack the views of others.
We are better than that. We are supposed to be better than that. We are, as a Nation, always telling ourselves we’re better than to wallow in the insult minded sewer. And when it comes to our image, the one thing that lives with us forever and is the single most important thing we craft and nurture, then we must agree to adhere to some very single ideas.
The takeaways are simple and to the point.
This isn’t just about situations such as this. This is about your personal growth and your professional life. This is about being a leader, about your image, and being smart about protecting it.
- Granny Berliner verbally pounded this into my psyche from the earliest days I can remember. “Think before you speak”. Take a breath. Take a moment. Use the brain God gave you for something other than a hat rack. Again, one of hers but it works.
- Understand the permanent damage you will do to your image, that of your family, and perhaps even your friends. You will lose jobs. You will ruin your life. You will be properly marked either a pariah or too stupid to be trusted.
- Turn down the temperature on social media. Stop trying to be the one with the most “Likes” or comments. Sometimes, shut your mouth. Seriously, just shut up. Realize that not everything you say is earth shattering and sometimes what you’re adding is nothing more than noise.
- Make it a conversation. Understand the viewpoints of others. Seek to have a conversation instead of a hate-filled “shouting” match. Words in anger solve nothing, and they will live with you forever.
- Remember that everything you write, video, scream or shout textually or verbally on social media LASTS FOREVER. If you didn’t grasp it, go look up the definition of the word “FOREVER”.
- BE PART OF THE SOLUTION INSTEAD OF ANOTHER COG IN THE WHEEL OF THE PROBLEM. You will gain greater respect than the fool who is always carrying around a figurative can of gasoline.
- Murder is wrong. Get it? That sink in? And making a public call demanding the killing of someone else is a crime. Whether President or lawn cutter. That’s not an image to covet. It’s a reason to be arrested.
Telling someone you’re angry they didn’t make a date is one thing. Calling for the assassination of a President is despicable, makes no difference if you like that person or detest them. If you can’t see the difference, you have no chance at succeeding and will forever be viewed as an individual few want to associate with.
Someone who should be fired from their job and shunned by an intelligent and rational public. Moments before you’re thrown in jail.
This is America, the greatest country in the world. A country that deserves someone better than Maria Chappelle-Nadal and anyone who would agree with her.
Be certain it’s not you.