On Using the Mini-Bully Pulpit

Mar 2, 2016 by


Michael F. Shaughnessy –

What is the old saying? ” Power corrupts”? And absolute power corrupts absolutely?

I may have it wrong, but it does seem that over the last seven years, we have seen more and more people ” overstepping their authority” as George Leef has indicated in his Pope Center piece today…which I will post after I have had my two cents worth.

We have all seen those memos and letters from people, that, when given just a little bit of power or a title or some other administrative desk or fancy charge , seem to go hog wild with memos and reminders and emails about this, that or the other thing- and in many cases, most of what they have to say is reiterative.

But, they somehow feel some compulsive need to write about something to show that they know something, or to prove to someone that they are doing some sort of job.

Well, Arne Duncan is now retired, or perhaps playing basketball somewhere, but there seems to be some other people in Washington who feel that they have to use their little mini-bully pulpits to make some sort of point or to show their self-importance.

These letters from Washington, D.C. or OCR typically start out with some lugubrious beginning such as “Dear Colleague”.  Whenever I get one of these letters, I think about either getting a cup of coffee or decide to go to lunch at McDonald’s first, because I am pretty sure I am going to get a lengthy diatribe about something that doesn’t concern me at all, or something that I know all about already (having gone thru the Title IX training already, thank you very much).

But the inDUHvidual that has sent these letters typically believes that they need to reiterate some points that need clarifying. All of this stuff reminds me of a scene from the book “The New York Yanquis” by Bill Granger, wherein some general manager comes in to talk to the team, that unfortunately doesn’t speak English.

But, the coach basically says to them (in Spanish), “just let this hombre talk and listen to him, and then we can get back to business”.

“Pay him no mind” is the general consensus  here.

Anyway, George Leef describes and discusses this issue in far more eloquence that I could ever hope to do, so I will just refer you to his original piece which needs to be read word for word.  And I thank you, dear colleague for reading.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.