Profiles in Cowardice

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

I don’t know if I’ve ever faced real danger in my life. I certainly have never seen my life flash before my eyes or felt like the end was near. So, any talk of real leadership or real bravery has to be taken in the abstract. I’ve lived a pretty uneventful life and I suppose that is the greatest example of privaledge. We all go through stuff and either grow from it or don’t. Yet, it takes an incredible jackass to claim that the stuff they’ve gone through is more significant than anyone else’s strife.

One of the phrases that has bopping around my head is the phrase, “the value of things.” Essentially, it governs everything I believe about sports, life, and leadership. The general idea is that the main mistake people make is that they misunderstand the proper meaning of the value of things. For instance, we place the wrong value of certain qualities and we get the absolute absence of leadership.

The dictionary provides two definitions for integrity and both of them are really revealing. The first talks about honesty and strong moral principles. The second is the state of being whole and undivided. I’m sure the second refers to structural integrity such as the structural integrity of a bridge. However, the concept of being whole and undivided is fascinating as it pertains to human integrity.

In 1984, Greg Abbott was paralyzed when a tree struck him. He was jogging through the neighborhood. The event is obviously the most significant event in his life. It is hard to put a price on such things. How does one put a price on their ability to walk, run, or get around? How does one put a price on the happiness they cannot have due to permanent injury?

The facts are that Abbott availed himself of the system to compensate him following his accident. On some level, it is a completely understandable response and one no one would begrudge him. Except, Abbott would. Abbott spent most of his early political career working to limit others from benefitting from the system the way he did.

To date, it is perhaps the most comprehensive example of the fact that Abbott doesn’t have the integrity to lead. There are others. In 2015, a group of idiots became convinced that the military were going to kidnap citizens and stash them away in Wal-Marts in Texas. That was their explanation for military exercises that became known as Jade Helm.

Abbott’s response was telling as it usually is. He could have ignored it. He could have come out and eased tensions and simply told people there was nothing to worry about. He could have called them out as a bunch of paranoid kooks. Instead he asked the Texas State Guard to monitor the military. At the end of the day it didn’t really interfere with the exercises, so what exactly is the harm?

The harm is that it gave credence to the crackpots. It was a signal to them that the governor heard them and was on their side. Abbott knew it was all nuts, but couldn’t bring himself to say so. After all, he needed their vote. He knows the ex-president was full of crap as well. He knew the whole notion of a border wall was a bunch of window dressing. It didn’t stop him from leaning into that whole line of crap.

Finally, we see him threatening transsexual teens and their parents. We see him question green energy and blame it for the debacle last winter. Yet, we know Abbott was okay with the energy companies profiting from disaster. Thus, we finally see the real reason why Abbott is dangerous and a poor fit for the position of dog catcher, much less governor.

He isn’t a danger because he’s a conservative. True conservatives aren’t inherently dangerous. He’s a danger because he isn’t truly conservative. He isn’t truly anything. Greg Abbott’s only true constituency is Greg Abbott. He will do anything, say anything, and believe anything he needs to get ahead. If one believes in nothing they will eventually fall for anything. We’ve already seen it in Abbott’s case.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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