The world is divided, I think, between those who admit to peeing in the shower, and those who do not. (There does exist a statistically insignificant portion of people who actually don’t pee in the shower. But these individuals are very sick persons who suffer from a compulsive disorder and they need not be accounted for in a general discussion such as this.)
But while plenty of very good people pee in the shower, those who admit to doing so are in a minority. Why? Almost everybody does it. Why not admit it?
Because once you’ve been caught peeing in the shower, whatever else you do, you will be identified as a shower pee-er for the rest of your life. If people see you feeding the homeless they say: “Nice Guy, but he’s a shower pee-er, you know.” If you are helping school kids to win top science prizes, they say: “Very Inspiring, but I’m not so sure about her. She pees in the shower, eh?”
And if you are offering yourself up for public service…forget it.
In an article published today, Reuters, notes that:
“Experts predict that video-sharing and "social networking" sites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com, which are just starting to be used by politicians, will play an even bigger role in the 2008 presidential election.”
Many herald this as a positive change, a chance to get the discussion of politics and the control of image away from the “elite” and “the media” and into the hands of “the people”.
But I find myself wondering all the same. Effective leaders do not spring up over-night, nor do they rise from the ashes of horrific lab experiments gone wrong, like super heroes.
Leaders learn their craft step by step: making mistakes along the way; learning what leadership techniques work, and what leadership techniques do not; which phrases move people to action and which leave people cold. This is done, not in front of the nation, or even the entire state, but in front of college classrooms, town meetings, and in the cafeterias of senior centers.
If our leaders are to be deprived of their training ground, if they are to be filmed, blogged, and dogged mercilessly, will they suffer the fate of the exposed “shower pee-er”?
Or will we as a society simply learn the lesson that leaders are only ordinary people (hence ordinary people can be leaders), and that leaders have faults, and that if they don’t, they are probably much more like the man who actually gets out of the shower to pee- actually much abnormal than the one who just lets it rip from time to time.