THE CONVERSATION: ASG in grave danger of becoming like my 2 year-old
Well this should be an interesting conversation! I think you will see exactly what I mean as we get into it.
What Kind of Leaders are they?
Before we discuss the main subject of this week's column, let's revisit last week's column briefly.
The 2 focal points were: A) The fact that the form of government here is a Representative model, where the elected official is expected to represent the will of the people who elected him; and B) The assessment of leadership here on Island and whether or not the current leadership seemed to fall into one of two key categories: The Servant Leader, or the Serve-Me Leader.
There was not the time to discuss much about what that meant beyond the very Basics, but let's look at a few character traits of each.
As we live in a community that has a strong Bible Focus, perhaps this week we can delve into some scriptural examples around this topic.
To fully describe a Servant Leader would be difficult without illustrating the ultimate servant-leader ever to walk this earth: Jesus Christ.
He demonstrated his servant leadership style on many occasions, but the occasion where he demonstrated this, the most visibly, was in the upper room before he was to be crucified. The Bible says that he got up from dinner, put on a towel, grabbed a basin of water, and began to wash his disciples’ feet. The feet of the very ones who were going to betray and desert him in a matter of hours.
It was during this bizarre and beautiful exchange that we see Christ demonstrate the contradictory idea of the first being last and the last being first. He also taught during his time here that those that would be great in the Kingdom should first be a servant.
A leader in the Bible we can see who demonstrated the exact opposite of this philosophy and was a Serve-Me leader was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
King Nebuchadnezzar thought he was so great that he erected a statue that could be seen from far away, and ordered that everyone bow down and worship the statue.
Those that refused to worship the statue were threatened with immediate execution in a burning fiery furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar was only interested in himself looking good regardless of what problems this would cause the people in his kingdom. He demanded to be served, to be put on a pedestal, and to be honored above all others, regardless of the destruction it could bring.
Servant leaders serve the needs of those they lead and put the people's interests over their own.
Serve-Me leaders only look out for their own well-being above all others.
The servant leader sees himself as being less important than those he serves.
The Serve-Me leader sees himself as being much more important than those he leads.
Please feel free to correct me if I have a wrong view of this, but originally the village chief, and the Matais in their role as political and family leaders put the needs of their villagers above their own.
If the Matai had excess, he shared it with those members of the village equally.
He was not a reservoir of blessings, rather he was a river of blessings.
Fast forward to where we are at today, and leadership in many facets and spheres of society here in American Samoa is a terrible perversion of what originally was a very healthy and helpful system of leadership focused on serving those who were led.
It has gotten out of hand, out of balance, and this is exactly how ASG is in grave danger of being exactly like my two-year-old.
Any one of you who has had children knows that small children don't have control over their momentum as they run. The child trips and falls many times because their HEAD is so heavy compared to the rest of their body.
What is a leader or leaders other than the head or heads of a local body?
When a head on a body is too large, the body is in danger of being injured severely simply because an overly large head on a small body creates major imbalance that cannot be addressed by the much smaller body.
If the taxes fees and statutes that are currently being discussed are put in place, given the extreme lack of financial resources, and the fact that we see those diminishing weekly and monthly for many families across this island, the head would grow had an extremely rapid pace while the body supporting the head is shrinking at a rapid pace simultaneously.
Here's the bottom line: If changes are not made quickly, we are setting ourselves up for a major fall just like my two-year old, and Humpty Dumpty.
It is our job the people to ensure that just as Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, we decide to honor God first, and with perseverance reject the king's decrees as forcefully and as meekly as we can, using the channels available.
We need head reduction surgery, not head inflation surgery.