Another Day in the Country

Somebody’s got to lead

© Another Day in the Country

Finding someone willing to lead is always a difficult proposition, it seems to me.

It takes a pretty thick skin to weather all the pot-shots that will surely be aimed in your direction, to put up with all the sidewalk superintendents who are too chicken to do the work but have plenty of opinions about how other people are handling it.

It’s even more difficult to find leaders in a rural environment.

Farmers, well known for being independent, tend toward minding their own business and not getting overly involved in their neighbors’ affairs.

They have opinions, which many deem best kept to themselves. They have ideas, but find it difficult or unnecessary to articulate them to the wider world. They may have a sense of where things should be headed, but hesitate to declare how to get there. They tend to equivocate when someone asks for their opinion, and if they’re cornered may shrug and say like my neighbor used to, “could be right, might be wrong.”

Leadership demands that someone identify a need, articulate a plan of action, stick their neck out with an opinion as to how that might occur, and gather together a group of cooperative people to help make something happen.

Leaders aren’t necessarily the smartest or the best looking. Sometimes they are the most brash and obnoxious; but they always are the one with the guts to stand up and proclaim that action is necessary.

The other day I was driving through Pilsen, and lo and behold, there were chickens in the road, wandering around like it was their playground, oblivious to the fact that a very big car was approaching.

Perhaps they thought Pilsen was a safe place, but they were wrong. Even with the ability to fly, the road is still a dangerous place to play.

We slowed down, came to a stop, when suddenly out of the ditch came this little Bantam rooster. He was irate, furious, scolding those chickens, one of which was a big red rooster who had obviously lead the flock astray.

The little upstart from the ditch chased those chickens out of the center of the road and back into their yard. It was a hoot to watch. We stopped the car, just sat there and chuckled as this little half-pint of feathers, herding the flock away from danger.

“Now that’s a leader,” I said, right out loud. “We need more of those!”

And here we are in the middle of an election year, the 24-hour news cycle talks of little else than who said what and which side of the road they are on. Few people are satisfied with the leadership. We’re sort of like the chickens in the road, wandering down the middle, pleased that our little community is fairly low on traffic and uncomplicated.

Meanwhile, our world has become a very complicated place. The world’s problems are not solved by just building a higher fence around the chicken yard.

Thinking back on the political scene, during the primaries, perhaps Bernie Sanders was like that little Bantam rooster with his feathers all ruffled up, attempting to raise concerns, suggest some ways to correct this democratic republic; but there weren’t quite enough to get him into a serious leadership position.

Regular folk seem to still be suspicious of the female of the species attempting to lead, since they are still on a lower rung of the roost.

“We’ve come a long way, baby,” but we’re a young country and it’s still hard for a woman to be in leadership in America. You’d think the other hens would rally around one of their own, proud of her endurance and flat-out courage for even attempting to lead; but it’s not often the case. We like to think we are a bunch of free-range chickens; but we’re still pretty comfortable with the regular old pecking order.

On the political stage we do have a rather flamboyant rooster making quite a bit of noise these days about making our country great again, and there are lots of feathered folk running after him. I guess they like the way he crows.

It worries me, though, on another day in the country!

Last modified Sept. 7, 2016