23 July 2007

Rogelio Figueroa: The PPR's Kamikaze

As an advocate for environmental causes, Rogelio Figueroa has distinguished himself as a deft pilot in stormy weather. As the leader of a political party, Figueroa is a kamikaze, flying blind to a willful death.

I've already touched on this topic, but it bears revisiting, if only to show that there's more to this political demise than mere fatalism. It is a structural problem, stemming first from ego, then from a lack of understanding of the roles needed to institutonalize long-term political success.

Setting ego aside for the moment, what Figueroa fails to understand is that he has been an advocate for well over a decade, but a political party--like any organization--is run by a decision-maker. The difference? Let Me quote Morgan Jones, author of The Thinker's Toolkit:

(A)dvocacy does work--when someone other than the advocator makes the decision... But when the advocator is also the decision-maker, advocacy can be destructive of sound, effective and profitable solutions because advocacy feeds and perpetuates our mind-sets, biases, beliefs and prejudices. It thus nurtures our tendency to focus and, in doing so, destroys our objectivity. When we defeat objectivity, we limit, even prevent, our full understanding of the problem. (Emphasis in the original.)

Hewing to the traditional fossilized view of party structure, where the gubernatorial candidate is automatically the party president, Figueroa has anointed himself the chosen one, thinking that the consolidation of power and authority in his hands is the obvious best choice because he simply knows better than anyone else. He thinks he's the brains and heart of this outfit and that there just can't be a better man for the job.

He's right: He is the heart of the party. He is the passionate advocate who steered this group into a new arena, extending their concerns from a single cause (albeit a fundamentally important one) into a political party that seeks to make changes across many causes.

And that is as far as he goes in being right. An advocate who thrusts himself/herself into the role of leader/decision-maker is headed for a thunderous crash, for where advocacy takes heart and passion can serve as overwhelming force, to play the political game takes organization and organization takes brains. And quite simply, Rogelio Figueroa doesn't have the brain to run a political party.

I'm not talking about lack of brainpower, but about a lack of experience, vision and objectivity. He may claim to have vision, but his vision is that of an advocate, not of a party leader. Whereas an advocate races to a horizon, a party leader navigates the speedbumps and obstacles right in front of him/her. Where an advocate takes stands, a party leader builds roads. And where an advocate preaches, a party leader negotiates.

Rogelio Figueroa is an advocate, not a party leader. He will race to the horizon he sees, locked into a position and refusing to make corrections while his political opponents build mountains in front of him. No one will be able to alter the course or divert the plane from its impending doom. Inevitably, Rogelio Figueroa, the PPR's kamikaze, will crash, his path to calamity but another case study of ego-driven failure.

Can this be avoided? Given what I've seen so far, not a chance. There's something funny about a kamikaze who's into his 22nd mission, but about one who succeeds there's only tragedy.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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