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LETTER: Good leaders replace fear with hope

To the Editor:

Thank you for your editorial (“Paul LePage wins: the people weren’t fooled,” p. 3, November 4, 2010).

It was clear and forthright, making it easy to say where I agree and where I don’t. I agree that many people are angry, disappointed with government and frustrated. They are also fearful of the future.

A fearful electorate is dangerous to the common good. Fearful people tend to swing to extremes in hope of getting their needs met.

I do not believe in either big government or small government. I believe in good government.

Good government is transparent, comprehensive and inclusive. Good government has leaders who feel and act upon their responsibility to all the people, not just those who voted for them.

Good leaders of good government realize that they were elected to lead, based upon their best judgment of the needs and wishes of all the people. They do their best to create solutions to problems that are clear, open and honest.

Good leaders of good government stay in ongoing contact with the people, listening to them, reflecting on what they hear and make clear to the public what they are doing and why. They are not afraid to ask for sacrifice when that is required.

I am so tired of political groups of all stripes that ask for money so that they can fight for me. I want leaders who will avoid conflicting metaphors, leaders who will model civility and ethical standards and who will ask for my time, energy, ideas and effort to help them to help me. Good leaders of good government work cooperatively.

I am in despair of your willingness to castigate the Maine media as “hostile” and Democrats and special interests as “predators snapping at his throat with a rapacious appetite for government handouts.” Will having a “dog fight” really lead to good government? That is a formula for maligning enemies and alienating people. We’ve had enough of that.

I agree that we need to restructure government at all levels: local, state and national. Stigmatizing, warlike analogies exacerbate fear and promote conflict. Good government replaces fear with hope.

Finally, you suggest that Paul LePage will need our support and help. He is my governor. I will support him. This letter is what I can do in the way of help.

Hubert Kauffman, Ph.D.
Kauffman represents Maine Beyond War, 262 Coldwater Brook Road, Oxford ME 04270

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