Sunday, January 1, 2017

Lead with Questions

There's a good chance 2017 will be an angry year for me. In 19 days a man is being inaugurated whose candidacy I opposed from the very beginning. I quit the political party to which I had always belonged and for which I had always rooted over that man. I fully expect that in his first year in office, Donald Trump will give me reasons to fulminate. After all, his political capital will have not yet been spent, his party is in control of both houses of Congress. The winds are at his back.

I think about angry voices from the past. For instance, William Lloyd Garrison, who once said that "I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - and I will be heard!" There was also Norman Beale, famous for proclaiming, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" For as thunderously wonderful as these sentiments might be, that's not my style.

In fact, when I was in graduate school for educational leadership, the best advice I got was to lead with inquiry. Question, don't assume. Start a conversation with a question but also lead people and move institutions with questions. Leading with inquiry is also more consistent with giving a new president a chance to make policy and be effective rather than just assuming they'll meet with failure.

So, the top political questions on my mind for the incoming Trump administration and Republican Congress are as follows:

1) What will you do to safeguard and promote the freedom of speech and of the press?

2) What policies will you put in place to counter the structural unemployment that will result from automation?

3) What measures will you implement to maintain the solvency of Social Security?

4) What steps will we take to strengthen and reassure critical allies throughout the world?

5) What measures will be taken to prevent foreigners' interference in American elections?

6) What will the administration do to promote growth of productivity?

7) What policies will you put in place to expand access to medical care?

8) What policies will you put in place to contain the cost of medical care?

9) What policies will you put in place to extend access to credit for lower-income Americans?

10) What measures will you take the guarantee all Americans equal treatment under the law?

That's it for now.

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