What is Servant Leadership?
Though not an endorsement of Governor Ron Desantis as President, allow me to use some examples of his leadership and style to explain what is needed in dealing with our current social and political dilemma. Recent TV political advertisements presented the case for re-electing Florida Governor Ron Desantis. One such ad included a former U. S. Naval officer referring to Ron Desantis as a ‘true servant leader’. Such an impressive, honorable comment and admirable qualities spoken from one of his fellow Naval officers, prompted me to seek out the characteristics of a ‘true servant leader’.
Previous to serving as Governor of Florida, Ron Desantis graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. What strikes this author was his being captain of the Yale University Baseball Team. To me, always important - a regular guy. He was a Lieutenant in the U. S. Navy, deployed to Iraq and advisor to Seal Team One. He earned the Bronze Star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal. He subsequently won election to Florida’s 6th congressional district as congressman before being elected Governor. That’s it in a nutshell. And, he and his family are practicing Roman Catholics.
Is he a servant leader? Does he have a vision of the future for Floridians? Can he inspire and lead its citizens? Do we know his core values through his communication and actions? Is he for us and is it about us? [Perkins, 2000]
Proverbs 29: 18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. "
First test for a political leader is preparedness and as Hurricane Ian approaches [at the time of this writing], it is being done. He made sure of it for each storm that has approached Florida since 2018. From there our Governor initiated such policies as election reform, and entrepreneurial education and training showing his preference toward economic leadership and a free market as opposed to command economies. He instituted executive actions against threats posed by China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela. These actions helped thwart cyber threats and real estate investments based on sceptical motives. He appointed trustees throughout our state university system assuring higher educational integrity in terms of finance and propaganda. Recently the governor has stymied the left’s poisonous public school curriculum agenda of gender theory and critical race theory. Desantis has made known his recognition of our principles and rights under seige by the left. And so he eliminated the Florida state university and college policies of ‘diversity , equity and inclusion’ as antithetical to democracy and American values. Further he banned sex change procedure as health care procedures while at the same time signed the strongest pro-life bill in Florida history.
In the 1970s your humble author was a teacher of a required course in Florida public schools entitled ‘Americanism vs. Communism’. This was while at the Hialeah Adult Education Center. The statewide text book used for this course was Today’s Isms, helping create and awareness of the domestic and international forces working in this world, some for and some against the United States. Democrat governors discontinued the requirement, but Governor Desantis reinstituted a similar requirement.
Second, he’s not a passive politician and it is not just words. BLM and Antifa riots are not tolerated in Florida, sanctuary cities banned and Chinese Communist land grabs in its rural sector were opposed. Ahead of the game, Governor Desantis has made it known from the start that he favors freedom over control, especially government control, both personally and economically. He kept the schools open, the churches open, the businesses open, and the masks off. He maintains that our schools teach values in keeping with western democratic values and traditional Christian/Judeo values. Of course, the left starts calling names after successes like this. They have no argument. It is the governor of California who is the ‘neo-fascist’. Theirs is a state of government control. Centralized control is the purpose of the left. Decentralization of power is their enemy. Opposition to the overturning of Roe vs. Wade is imperative for them, not only because of the abortion issue but because it brings these decisions out of the hands of the central government. This to the left is the solution to all problems as they see it. Fear of freedom and control is their motivation.
Proverbs 11: 3 “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”
On a personal level, Governor Desantis is a stickler for personal integrity. He sends illegals to Massachusetts, Washington, D. C. and New York because he knows Pres. Biden and these urban mayors are not. He confronts them for they lean on federal policy and leftist political ideology, not themselves. It is called hypocrisy; their personal lives do not live their ideological beliefs.
Isaiah 41: 10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
This is the leader attempting to get us back on track toward our rightful future. He is one of us too. He gets his strength from God, not Karl Marx. Desantis won the gubernatorial race by 20 points, a landslide. Why? Because he won by his example and the citizens of Florida love him. He has an awareness of that existential reality opposing political parties intend for this country. Servant leaders are grounded in reality. Hard work and willingness to sacrifice is his style. He’s a fighter. Not sure he would make a good president yet, but as a state governor, we see his leadership and the results.
Perkins, Bill. 2000. Awaken the Leader Within: How the Wisdom of Jesus can Unleash Your Potential. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.