If I Were King in 2015

If I were King in 2015, there are a few things I would deem “Law of the Land,” and I may periodically share some of those things in this blog, just to see what Week-Ender readers might have to say about it.

First, I would require that all subjects in the kingdom cease and desist referring to fellow subjects of the kingdom as the “enemy” or as “opponents.” This would apply especially to elected and other government officials, but also to others starting with youth sports at the very youngest levels.

I hear too much public rhetoric today from our political “leaders” that implies divisive feelings toward their fellow legislators; these are leaders we the people elected to carry out the law of the land, but they can’t because they are too busy fighting each other. They worry more about re-election than governing.

When people hear this negative attitude day in and day out on 24-hour news channels, it spreads that negativity throughout the kingdom and before long, local leaders are emulating their higher-level models.

From there, it spreads to the people, even to the youngest of subjects who are engaged in what are supposed to be wholesome activities such as sports, athletics and other competitive engagements. However, overzealous coaches and parents who are infected with making opponents the “enemy” pass this attitude on to their young participants. So instead of friendly competition, it becomes all-out war ... not good for young souls.

If I were king, this would stop. I would insist that the attitude change to one of cooperation and teamwork, realizing that we are all on the same team; and like a family, we may argue, fuss and fight behind closed doors, but when we face the world we are united with one voice.

If I were king, I would insist that the people who run for public office be prepared to serve only the best interests of the greater good and not their own personal desire for power and influence. Collectively, I would expect them to oppose anyone, even me, who would propose anything that would harm the kingdom. 

For example, if I said I wanted to open our kingdom’s borders to anyone, friend or foe, without controls, I would expect the public officials to oppose me on that.

As king, I would remind all public administrators that they are there to provide “public service,” and as such must maintain an attitude of humility and cooperation and not look at the public as the enemy. The public is the reason they are appointed or hired, so all actions should be taken with “service,” honesty and an open mind as prime considerations.

If I were king, I would never say anything publicly that detracts from the overall honorable reputation of my kingdom. This is not to say our kingdom is without fault and when open admission of fault is necessary, then as a good leader I would take responsibility and discuss the problem and develop a solution. 

As king, I would view my job as the main “cheerleader” for the kingdom. I would keep my attitude positive, my words encouraging and supportive and my actions always accentuating the good we do as a people and as a kingdom. There will be pundits and detractors who will accentuate the negative; that is not my job. My job as king is to give the people hope, to provide subordinate leaders the authority and tools to serve the best interests of our kingdom.

If I were king I would ensure that the world knows and remembers all the good our kingdom has done with the best of intentions, helping other kingdoms in time of crisis.  When other kingdoms denigrate our kingdom I would try to help them remember why we should not be cast as an enemy, but as a friend.

However, as king, if my kingdom is threatened, I would ensure that we are prepared to act accordingly. I would ensure that our kingdom’s defensive and offensive power is more than adequately prepared to respond. I would realize that this is my highest purpose, as king.

If I were king in 2015, my message to the people for the year would be: treat each other with respect, let kindness lead your decisions and apply the Golden Rule to every action. Treat others as you would want to be treated. 

If all 350 million of our kingdom’s subjects would live by this rule, life would be better. I know this sounds altruistic; this sounds like I am king of Utopia. Maybe so; but just think what a great place it would be.

These are the major things I would insist on as king. I’m wondering if Week-Ender readers have any additional suggestions that need kingly consideration.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine who also served for 15 years in municipal parks and recreation, is now a full-time photojournalist who lives in Beaufort, S.C.; he can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email cwo4usmc@comcast.net.