What Happened to Leadership?

Watching Harvards Claudine Gay, UPenn Liz Maguill, and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth testify this past week swept me down a hole of utter disbelief, disappointment, and anger. These three women represent all women whether they like it or not. They rose up the ladder of academia to oversee three of the most powerful educational institutions in the world yet all three of them showed themselves to be professional bots vs powerful leaders.

It was pathetic that none of them could rise above the fray from their boards to make a statement. They did what the board expected them to do or told them to do: keep their jobs and not get involved. Are all three of them so programmed in their professional career that they can’t stand for anything? It is reprehensible that none of them could say, “The buck stops here”.

Yet, we should all ask how we got to a place where leaders can’t lead. Is it because we created a society in which everyone wins from the time they are born? That nobody loses? That social media and media, in general, have divided us and captured our attention to the point that communication has become fraught with tension? Is that why people applaud Trump and his gang of grifting bullies? Or is the dumbing down of America where Republicans have done everything possible to cut education spending and not teach our actual history? Is it the reaction to COVID-19, where we all were tossed into an apocalyptic universe and are now coming out on the other end? Is it the fear of our own communities where people are scared of their neighbors? Is it the freedom of e-commerce and delivery so you actually do not have to communicate with another human being?

I have so many questions. We must look to the root of our society to understand how we got to a place where three powerful, strong women couldn’t find it in themselves to condemn anti-semitism that was frightening with violent underpinnings. I believe they would all find themselves wavering if this was an attack on Palestineans, Asians, Black or Brown people. It is a lack of leadership. I don’t care how smart anyone is at the top of any organization, if you can’t lead, you should not be in that role.

What has happened to our country?