The goal of democracy is not unity. The goal of democracy is productive disagreement and conflict management through legitimate elections and representative government.
Transactional leadership is no less important that transformational leadership. We need both. Joseph Nye, Good Leaders Don’t Always Need a Vision:
Two centuries ago the newly independent American colonists had a transformational leader in George Washington. Then, they invented a different type of leadership when James Madison and other transactional leaders negotiated the US constitution. Madison’s solution to the problem of conflict and faction was not to try to convert everyone to a common cause but to overcome division by creating an institutional framework in which ambition countered ambition and faction countered faction. Separation of powers, checks and balances, and a decentralised federal system placed the emphasis on laws more than leaders. Even when a group cannot agree on its ultimate ends, its members may be able to agree on means that create diversity without destroying the group. In such circumstances, transactional leadership may be better than efforts at transformational leadership.
One of the key tasks for leaders is the creation, maintenance or change of institutions. Madisonian government was not designed for efficiency. Law is often called “the wise restraints that make men free” but sometimes laws must be changed or broken, as the civil rights movement of the 1960s demonstrated. On an everyday level, whistleblowers can play a disruptive but useful role in large bureaucracies, and a smart leader will find ways to channel their information into institutions such as an ombudsman. An inspirational leader who ignores institutions must consider the long-term ethical consequences as well as the immediate gains for the group.
Lewis R. Gordon, Trump Loyalists Want to Uphold a Long American Tradition: White License:
Want a democratic republic? Inaugurate a systematic overhaul of institutions that are premised upon disenfranchising whole groups of people, and radicalize voting and access to other forms of political participation for all.
Said change would be transactional leadership as well as transformational leadership.
On the Media, Why Appeasement Won’t Work This Time Around [Ed.: Appeasement has never worked. There’s no reason to believe it will work now either.]
If historic parallels about white resentment and violence are useful for understanding Trumpism and other contemporary expressions of white supremacy, they may also help us to figure out what to do — or not to do — next. We can start with the contested election of 1876, when Southern democrats — then the party of slavery — alleged fraud in the election of Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes and his Republican Party, meanwhile, alleged massive voter suppression of southern blacks.
On Wednesday night, in his attempt to delay certification of Biden’s election victory, Texas Senator Ted Cruz asked: why not do what his 19th century predecessors did? Back then, white southerners called it “redemption.” To Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, it was a catastrophe of appeasement and an object lesson in the politics of reconciliation.
Nye is right. Gordon is right. Crenshaw is right. Our challenge is to square that circle.