Our nation is at a crossroads in leadership, where individuals are looking for genuine, hard working individuals who are principled in their convictions. Guidance, solutions, and results must come from those who embody character.
In her article, guest blogger, Ms. Katie Thompson, illustrates three foundational principles-courage, persistence, and humility-in the life of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. She portrays how an individual who lives based on convictions, applying wisdom, and genuinely caring about others can go a long way in influencing the city, state, and nation. Enjoy!
Katie Thompson is a senior majoring in English Writing and Rhetoric and the founding chair of College Republicans at St. Edward’s University. She is proud to be a native Texan and would like to become a mama grizzly one day. Follow Katie on Twitter (@TexasGrizzlette) and check out her blog: www.texasgrizzlette.com.
Many years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” Put more succinctly, his colleague (and my favorite Founding Father) John Adams said, “We are a nation of laws and not of men.”
Most of the kinks in our modern political system stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of its purpose. “We the people” choose our elected officials to represent our interests, to be a voice in governmental proceedings in lieu of our own.
As evidenced by the prevalence of corruption and back-room politics, too many politicians are driven by their sustaining their political career: for their personal glory rather than for the glory of this great state and nation in which we are so blessed to live.
Certainly, not all politicians are driven by this motive. One who stands above the rest in principles of servant leadership is our attorney general, Greg Abbott.
Abbott exemplifies three of the most central characteristics of servant leadership: courage, persistence, and humility.
Obamacare. Voter ID. The sonogram bill. Redistricting.
As one of the most influential champions of state’s rights, conservative issues, and the security of our interests, Abbott certainly does not lack courage. Time after time he is the one who stands up to the federal government when it steps out of bounds. Given the size and, lately, vengeful nature of the government, many people would be afraid to take a decisive stance like Abbott does every day.
Persistence is twofold: I mean not only perseverance in the face of adversity – which suing the federal government on a regular basis surely entails – but also the refusal to submit to high-minded “compromise” when it would be wrong and detrimental to our liberty to do so.
In a bi-partisan (verging on tri-partisan) system, some battles will be lost, and compromise may sometimes be necessary. Cooperating with opposition where it is prudent is not to be looked down on. But with the kind of critical issues Abbott handles – issues that have a real impact on our everyday lives – backing down to pacify the liberal opposition would weaken not only his power, but everything he stands for.
Abbott is a real person. In a society where political figures are often deemed either idols or demons out of reach, we have Attorney General Abbott. Amid fighting for key state and national issues, he has a weekly come-hell-or-high-water date night with his wife, makes sure his daughter always gets her homework done, and even has the guts to make a joke or two about why he’s in a wheelchair, something most would find (paralyzing).
Humility gets a bad rap in today’s culture. But it doesn’t mean a lack of confidence or aggressiveness. Abbott is genuinely appreciative of his role and the responsibility he has been given.
In short, Attorney General Abbott is a figurehead for the conservative movement, not for himself – a real servant leader.
I was privileged to meet Attorney General Abbott recently when he was presented with the first-ever Ronald Reagan Courage Award by the Travis County Republican Party. I can think of no more worthy recipient, and if the rumors of a run for governor in 2014 are true, there is no one I would be more pleased to support.
Abbott is just the kind of servant leader we desperately need more of.