13 September 2005


nebbish n. (Yiddish) a timid unfortunate simpleton

Let's end the suspense: The Governor of Puerto Rico, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, is a nebbish.

Timid: From body language to statements, Vilá seems to apologize for occupying your attention. He lacks assertiveness and that intangible element called "charm," which has nothing to do with physical appearance but everything to do with innate abilities.

Unfortunate: Assuming command of a government that has spent 12 years in frank decline, after being thrust into his party's leadership when the "preferred candidate" balked, AND after his own party's leader lame-ducked herself through mismanagement and an early "I quit" barely two years into her term, Vilá also has to face a contrary Senate, House and plurality of opposition mayors. Julius Caesar would have been mildly challenged; Vilá is vastly overwhelmed.

Simpleton: In times of crisis, it takes concerted, innovative thought and focused effort to rise above the fray and achieve brilliance. The condition Puerto Rico is in demands brilliance, for nothing less will make a difference. Instead of that, Vilá chooses half-baked ideas (pre-budget taxing, "voluntary" job reductions) and considers "wait and see" bolstered by mealy-mouthed salvos against the opposition as a viable strategy, the kind of "leadership" that can only be described as "simplistic."

What this amounts to is a leadership void that sucks potential out of the entire government, a veritable wasteland even at its best. A great team led by a nebbish, no matter how well-intentioned he or she may be, is mediocre; a lousy team led by a nebbish (no matter how...) is doomed. Unfortunately for Us, We have a lousy team...

...unless We realize that the team is NOT The Fools in and out of government, but Us. And that We are NOT really "led" by a nebbish and his counterparts, but by Our Own Talents. To keep waiting for the government, to keep acting as if the government were the end-all and be-all of Our Future, to act as if the government is a wallet We just have to dip into is to give undue power to Nebbish-led Foolishness. To accept that "That's the way things are" and shrug like oxen beset by flies is to allow the worst of what We are--or damn close to it--to determine Our Future.

We have options. They lie outside the traditional sources We have been coerced into thinking are the only ones. Let's find them, let's identify and join the women and men that are acting to develop Our Future. And let's do it now.

Hint: Those leaders have one clear-cut trait: They aren't relying on the government for anything. They may have in the past, but not anymore. They have ideas, often by the dozen, on how to make things happen without the government. Listen well and you will have found a Leader.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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