Accountability and Responsibility

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

Be it Ferguson, New York City, or any other social crisis facing our nation, the lack of leadership by the President, the Attorney General, Governor Nixon and other "leaders" opining on the problems without actionable information is palpable, irresponsible, destructive and bigoted at best.

The additional tragedy in the recent incidents is not only the loss of lives but the realization that "leaders" in the political process refuse to acknowledge the personal accountability and responsibility of both sides in the issues. These so called leaders want to hold police accountable but do not call into questions the actions or lies which may have precipitated the crisis to begin with. Their complete lack of leadership has exacerbated an already explosive situation.

As any veteran can tell you, accountability cannot be delegated. It is personal. Accountability belongs to the individual. It represents taking ownership of one’s actions and acknowledging your role in the position you currently find yourself in.

For the President to paint the present social problems as being one of lack of education and racial bias on the part of the police without acknowledging the influence and impact the young men had in the incidents is incendiary and irresponsible.

For President Obama, Governor Nixon, and Attorney General Holder to opine on the Michael Brown case without first seeing evidence displays a complete lack of leadership and integrity on their part. The riots which ensued were their responsibility. They are culpable in the destruction that ensued.

Nixon’s comments were so inflammatory and the public backlash so great that his own website put a disclaimer in the second paragraph that he was not attempting to prejudge the decision even though his verbal remarks earlier had already done just that.

It is a favorite tactic of community organizers to incite their base. Truth is irrelevant. Such tactics for a president, attorney general or governor are disgraceful because they are now supposed to be the calming influence. That is what leaders do. They are to be objective – impartial, intellectually honest and free of conflicts of interest.

Obama, Holder and Nixon are personally responsible for the riots which ensued but, more importantly, they lost a magnificent opportunity to lead, to provide calm, to promote racial harmony. Instead their remarks were nothing more than yellow, irresponsible journalism which has led to significant racial strife in this nation.

The facts in the cases have now become lost. Facts are almost irrelevant now because these three "leaders" transformed the situation from a legal issue on the facts to an emotional issue devoid of reality.

The truly sad consequences of their actions though is that in polarizing our nation rather than seizing the opportunity to unite it, they have further divided the nation.

Martin Luther King spoke of peace, racial tensions, and inequality. Violent actions against him and protestors in the 1960’s successfully brought millions of Americans to Dr. King’s side. We all saw the injustice play our on television and our nation started to heal as we all dealt with racial divide and inequality.

In the reverse fashion today, millions of Americans are seeing destruction for the sake of destruction in Ferguson. With such actions, the protestors have, unfortunately, isolated itself from millions of its supporters of the black cause which is equally unfortunate. The average person does not see the injustices in Ferguson that this president, governor or attorney general complain about. Most truly do not see the sense in the reckless destruction.

Racial relations have been set back by irresponsible leaders.

The real sadness though is that the responses of Obama, Nixon and Holder are in the minority – but a vocal minority at that.

Having just finished walking across the United States to raise awareness of developmentally disabled children, I had the pleasure of meeting scores of members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. The Delta’s are a vibrant, socially responsible group of women with the following mission: "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. Since its founding more than 200,000 women have joined the organization. The organization is a sisterhood of predominantly Black, college educated women"

During my trek, I met the mayor of East St. Louis, Mayor Alvin Parks and I was impressed. He saw the needs of his community, assessed it well and has worked with the Delta’s to begin to bring education and growth back to East St. Louis. He has a daunting task and the response to Ferguson just made it that more difficult.

The leadership of the Delta’s and Mayor Parks are the type of leadership that is responsible and accountable and which will solve problems.

I would ask all those who are turned off by our elected leaders comments to think of the true grassroots leaders in the Black community and to continue our support of racial harmony and mutual respect.

Our leaders may not be accountable or responsible but we must be. It is time to lead from the bottom.

Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected] and twitter at @fryan1951.