Healing and unity sound “soft” but when you talk FDR or Dr. King or Dolores Huerta or Dorothy Height or Margaret Sanger, that is EXACTLY why they were so beloved to get people through wars and depressions and tough times. It’s always toughest before great change. They didn’t whip people up into an angry, unchanneled frenzy. They didn’t go it alone. They built alliances. They knew how to work with power structures and systems even as they fought to change them. They were painstakingly detailed in their strategy. They knew the power of words and crafted them as much as their plans.
One of the most admirable qualities of Elizabeth Warren is that she LISTENS to others…she LEARNS from others. Warren has rolled into her platform the ideas of Kamala Harris (reproductive rights), Kristen Gillibrand (paid family leave), and Julian Castro (pre K and early childcare) with the permission from and credit to each of them. Her plans are developed through coalitions and teamwork, talking to the actual communities affected as well as the experts.
She knows any human institution, like the Democrat National Committee, is subject to flaws but she believes what’s more flawed is the electoral process (unsafe, based on money, and the outdated electoral college) which she plans on fixing.
She also has hope for the now-defunct GOP which are almost all Trump lackeys. As Sheila Blair wrote, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. with senior appointments in four Republican and Democratic administrations: Elizabeth Warren simply wants the market to work for us all. Right now it’s only working for the top-shelf wealthy and stacked against the working and middle class. In that, Warren is the great unifier.
As fun and deliciously rewarding it was to watch, Sen. Warren’s performance in the debates that I care about. She’s been fierce all along if you recall. She just also possesses the highly underrated quality of discretion as to when and how to bring it out.
I believe in the necessity for humility in leadership. She didn’t “decimate” Bloomberg in the debates to be all badass: she brought up facts that had to be paid attention to then she spoke to him afterward in a real conversation. It speaks volumes that the next day, he didn’t retaliate but grew in his respect for her. This clip about how she engaged with Bloomberg even after pointing out his unworthy candidacy is what leadership looks like. After a crass bully at our helm, our country needs this kind of leadership now more than ever.
I’ve seen her talk to Nobel Prize-winning economists who focus on alleviation of poverty as well as children she got down on her knee to talk to — as well as nonprofit boards, governors, CEOs, homeless families, and celebrities all alike. WHY is that important?
Great leaders like Sen. Warren know when to show their righteous indignation. For those of us who are “tired of being overlooked, dismissed, ignored, and left out,” who are survivors having PTSD every time a family separator, racist predator elected to our highest office shows his face, who watch teenagers get more time in jail as our treasury is emptied through unchecked, public corruption — Warren is here for our anger.
She is also here to show us how to channel our anger — not at each other or those in a different wealth class but so we can create change from the ground up. She knows how to battle so that our fervent hopes can actualize into reality. Anger can destroy us if unchecked. What good is anger unless it provides respite from our suffering, a solution to our problems, or balm for our healing?
Most of all, great leaders know what the public needed. Inspiration. Hope. Caring. Healing. Discretion. Ability to wield words that unite. Connection. Policies and visions are not enough.