Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remembering Octavia E. Butler, and "Speculations" on Leadership in Plainfield

"I have a huge and savage conscience that won't let me get away with things."      --Octavia E. Butler
June 22 was the birthday of the late  Octavia E. Butler (1947- February 24, 2006). In addition to being a brilliant writer and one of the first African American authors to make a name for herself in speculative fiction (aka science fiction), Butler was also a feminist, a lesbian, and a humanist. I know that many of you have probably read her most famous works, The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Talents and, of course, Kindred, among other works. If you have ever read Butler, you know that she is truly unforgettable. The above quote is my MOST FAVORITE quote by her, and one that guides my life (or at least I would like to think so).
In the wake of the recent Democratic primary election and of what some also are viewing as an ongoing crisis of leadership in Plainfield, I also have been thinking about what it means to be a leader--Butler's writing on leadership seem particularly apropos--I hope that as we all move into what Oswald Chambers would call "the invincible future" together (this year, next year, and beyond!), Plainfielders will keep these words in the forefront of their minds:
"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by the thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery." 
--from The Parable of the Talents
I will be out canvassing again (for the fall general election) after the July 4th holiday weekend to catch up to the 2nd and 3rd Ward voters I missed during the primary, and I will keep the above words in mind.  I am excited about continuing the conversation about Plainfield with you and sharing my ideas about how to move our city forward.
All best,