Follow my lead?

Today, Governor Christine Gregoire announced she will endorse legislative action creating a bill in support of marriage equality for Washington State. And while advocates suggest Ms. Gregoire has “shown tremendous leadership on this issue,” has she really?

I do not wish to pass judgment of Governor Gregoire nor the merits of marriage equality. (I’ll let you handle the thumbs, up or down.) Instead, I insist we raise the bar for our politicians in general and for leadership, specifically. Too often, we applaud our “representatives” when they finally back an issue. We conflate late-in-the-game endorsements with actual leadership, when more often than not these politicians’ “convictions” are only fully expressed when either: A) public support is wide-spread enough to make the stance safe, or, B) they no longer seek to perpetuate their careers in office. Let’s remember that true leadership is the strength to voice one’s most passionate opinions — upon election and even prior to — with disregard to polls and pundits, and rather, in service of whatever she or he considers morally correct, whether marriage equality or the Keystone pipeline or health insurance or weapons-ownership. This is not a matter of liberal or conservative, right or left, just a non-partisan plea for the elected to stand for something other than their own gain. (Heck, Fox News recently reported this gem: “Median net worth of member of Congress rose from $280,000 to $725,000 between 1984 and 2009. Over same 25 years the wealth of the average U.S. family slipped from $20,500 from $20,600.”)

Let us not debase the validity of Leadership by rewarding late-adopters or flip-floppers with the label. Instead, let us herald those who have stayed true to their beliefs, based on principle and passion.

Nominate someone you consider a true leader along with an explanation in 250 words or fewer below and be eligible to win a copy of Susan Scott‘s Fierce Leadership. Entries must be posted here by Noon on Monday, January 9th, 2012. 

*** To learn more about marriage equality, watch filmmaker Steven Greenstreet‘s visit to The High Bar during Season 1.

*** For more about grassroots politics, listen in on Warren and filmmaker Stephen Gyllenhaal also from our first season on SCANtv.



  • Well said Warren, it takes courage in itself to “call out” politicians + call awareness in regard to the lack of voice government, gives to politics that doesn’t traditionally, get the “popular vote”. Good on You! You running for office?

  • I would run for office, but rather actually accomplish something. However, I am honored believing that if I did run that I might have your vote. Thank you, Tara.

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