Quoting from Lee Iacocca in his new book, "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?"
Am I the only guy in this country whoís fed up with whatís happening? Where the hell is our outrage?
We should be screaming bloody murder. Weíve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, weíve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we canít even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car.
But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course". Stay the course? Youíve got to be kidding. This is America , not the damned Titanic. Iíll give you a sound bite: "Throw all the bums out!"
You might think Iím getting senile, that Iíve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.
The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While weíre fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving "pom-poms" instead of asking hard questions. Thatís not the promise of the "America" my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. Iíve had enough. How about you?
Iíll go a step further. You canít call yourself a patriot if youíre not outraged. This is a fight Iím ready and willing to have.
The Biggest "C" is Crisis ! [see the ten Cís in his book]
Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. Itís easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone elseís kids off to war when youíve never seen a Battlefield yourself. Itís another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.
On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A Hell of a Mess, so hereís where we stand. Weíre immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. Weíre running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. Weíre losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.
But when you look around, youíve got to ask: "Where have all the leaders gone?" Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence and common sense?
I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.
Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?
Weíve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.
Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.
Everyoneís hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesnít happen again. Now, thatís just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what youíre going to do the next time.
Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when "The Big Three" referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?
Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.
I have news for the gang in Congress. We didnít elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why donít you guys show some spine for a change?
Hey, Iím not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. Iím trying to light a fire. Iím speaking out because I have hope. I believe in America. In my lifetime Iíve had the privilege of living through some of Americaís greatest moments. Iíve also experienced some of our worst crises: the "Great Depression", "World War II", the "Korean War", the "Kennedy Assassination", the "Vietnam War", the 1970s oil crisis and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11. If Iíve learned one thing, itís this:
You donít get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether itís building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. Thatís the challenge Iím raising in this book. Itís a call to "Action" for people who, like me, believe in America. Itís not too late, but itís getting pretty close. So letís shake off the crap and go to work. Letís tell íem all weíve had "enough."