Let's start the new year with a talk about leadership.
You don't tell people you are a good leader.
You don't read books to be a good leader.
A parking space and titles do not make you a good leader.
Your power over others does not make you a good leader.
Your actions mark you as a good leader.
You don't have to wear a uniform to be a good leader.
The weather this December showed to a lot of localities the quality of the leaders they elected to office. It is easy to be a politician when things are easy and/or you control those things around you with an iron grip.
Life is what happens when you are planning other things, and the good Lord has other plans sometimes. Adversity demonstrates character to all who are listening.
Case in point - over the last week the Mayor of Newark, NJ - Corey Booker.
After a blizzard started blanketing the Northeast on Dec. 26, an event that earned the Twitter hashtag #snowpocalypse, Booker turned the microblogging site into a public-service tool. Residents of the city, which has a population of around 280,000, swarmed Booker's account (@CoryBooker) with requests for help, and the mayor responded. He and his staff have bounced around Newark shoveling streets and sending plows to areas where residents said they were still snowed in. "Just doug [sic] a car out on Springfield Ave and broke the cardinal rule: 'Lift with your Knees!!' I think I left part of my back back there," he reported in one message. One person let Booker know, via Twitter, that the snowy streets were preventing his sister from buying diapers. About an hour later, Booker was at the sister's door, diapers in hand.Leaders run towards the fire. They move towards the flooding. They attack in to the ambush. They solve problems - they don't react to them. They don't complain - they educate by their actions.
Booker's frantic Twitter feed reads like an action novel. "I have a snowpocalypse crush on @CoryBooker," wrote one of Booker's million-plus followers. "He's like a superhero with a shovel." The mayor was out clearing snow until 3 a.m. on Dec. 28 before heading back out three hours later after a few winks. "This is one of those times you're just pushing," Booker told TIME while riding around Newark early Tuesday evening, anxiously awaiting a Twitter response from a Newark resident who said her 82-year-old grandmother was shut in by snow. A few minutes earlier, Booker, who played football at Stanford, helped dig out a New Jersey transit bus. "It's an endurance test." This is not the first time Booker has responded to distressed citizens on Twitter. He shoveled the driveway of an elderly man last New Year's Eve after the man's daughter tweeted about his predicament. He also hit the streets during snowstorms last February.
BZ Mayor - BZ.