Posted by Karen Hadalski at 18 October 2012

Category: Uncategorized

For most Americans it’s hard to think about anything but politics these days!  During every commercial break on television we are bombarded with ads extolling the virtues of– or, more commonly– demonizing one candidate over another. But,  I don’t think these tactics are working. In our case, we began to “mute” the chatter of candidates we will not be voting for this November quite a while ago and even turn our phone off to get a break from all the robo calls. We’ve heard more than enough, already.

Tensions and tempers are running high this year.  To a greater extent than during any other election cycle I can remember, our citizenry is split right down the middle, with each side as adamant and passionate about its choices as the other is about theirs.

I’ve been in Western Europe during election cycles and things are about the same there.  A relative just returned from a trip to Eastern Europe and they, too, are passionate about politics–even our upcoming election!

Wouldn’t it be refreshing (and healthy) to decide upon the direction we want to take, and the policies and leadership we need to take us there, through rational discussion, mutual respect, bi-partisan cooperation and unimpassioned discernment?

The only culture I’m familiar with that chose its leaders in this way was the Native American tribal system. This is how their “election process” went:

#1:  As a group, they took as long as was necessary to come up with and clearly articulate their felt needs and goals. These were decided and agreed upon by a majority through “pow-wows:” thoughtful, quiet, mutually respectful periods of rational discussion and discernment.

#2: Once goals were agreed upon, they simply surveyed/studied their population to discover who among them had already demonstrated the competency and successes necessary to assume a leadership position.  One or more people were then “invited” to take leadership responsibility in the area of their particular mastery. The “chosen” were afforded as much time as they needed to go off by themselves, reflect, pray, and decide whether or not they  perceived themselves as possessing the inner- strength and resolve necessary to successfully carry-out community expectations. There was no stigma associated with declining a leadership role.

#3:  Once the leadership position was assumed, the chief (or chiefs) had no contract, term of office, or additional criteria attached to his role.  So long as he exhibited competency, made progress in meeting the goals agreed upon, and retained strength and good health, he remained in his position.

If the one ( or several) chosen failed to move the community forward toward attaining agreed upon goals, he either self-relinquished his leadership role or acquiesced to his people’s request to step aside.  If his pride took over and he refused to step down, he was ostracised by the community and went off to form his own, new band of followers and establish another “tribe” in another “nation.”

To my mind, this “primitive” model is a far more sane and sensible model for choosing leaders than the one we currently suffer through every four years.





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