There is a word that we use to refer to the people we elect to run the country, and those individuals probably see themselves as having to fulfill that title: leader. What does it really mean to be a leader? Merriam-Webster offers a number of contexts in which this word can be used, some of them indicating something as being a primary point for some kind of offshoot, being first, or simply one with power to control. The Online Etymological dictionary traces this word to the O.E. verb laedan, “cause to go with one, lead”. When we think of leaders in a classic sense, some names pop easily into mind: Alexander the Great, Crazy Horse, Hannibal, William Wallace, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. People who lead from the front of their cause.
Today the leaders in our own country do very little of that. They vote by constituency, they have closed door meetings about our future, and maybe most important in deterring the label, they send others off to war as they sit safe at home. What does it mean when the Commander-in-Chief is usually nowhere near the battlefield, getting information second, third, or fourth hand? They certainly have the power to direct, but directing and leading mean different things. Having the title “Leader of the Free World” becomes a misnomer, when the President must contend with a congress and judiciary system who can overrule them.
To truly be a leader, at a minimum requirement, one should at least be at the front of the battlefield. The great leaders of history were not concerned with the danger, and it became a uniting force for the people following them. This should be especially pertinent with the recent news about the alleged Iranian assassination attempt. But that’s not going to happen with our elected officials, and if they are doing any “leading”, it seems that it is only down a whirlpool they’ve created for themselves. So, to balance the dissonance between the titles we give to the people who control us and the reality of the people we’ve elected to power, here are a few suggestions to replace the term leader when referring to those controlling the government:
Directors- sounds a little more business-like, a little more accurate in their execution of power, and it reflects the corporate culture that the government is adopting.
Impresarios- usually indicating the promoter or manager of an Opera or Concert company, but more generally used as a person who hosts or sponsors entertainment. Our officials are certainly trying to keep us entertained as they wipe their butts with the constitution and flush it down with the economy.
Jefe- a spanish word for leader. The Merriam Webster Thesaurus uses the example of “the jefe of a drug cartel operating out of Central America”. This is also fitting, since we are both supporting and fighting the drug war in those countries, whichmeans we can also give them the name war profiteers.
Managers- they’re not quite masters, they have other entities to answer to. It maybe also appropriate to call them supervisors.
Honcho- derived from the title hancho given to the leaders of Japanese squads. With the economic and civil rights policies that are being put forth by our elected officials, it seems like a suicide run meant to take out as many as possible, eery similarities.
High-muck-a-mucks- from Chinook hayo makamak, meaning plenty to eat. Have you seen the wastelines on some of our congressman? Plus this one is just fun to say. It might be more humbling if the people who elected you kept referring to you as this.
Nobs- a mostly british term for head. Again, humbling. And fun to say.
Kingpins- from bowling, it can mean the pin at the head of the configuration, it can also mean the one in the middle of the triangle. I guess you can figure out which one is more representative.
Nibs- important or self-important person, usually given the full title his/her nibs. Once more, fun to say.
Cowards- unable to say no to corporatization, unable to say no to misinformed constituencies, unable to say no to the military industrial complex, unable to control the printing of money and the high-jacking of the economic system. Unable can be translated as unwilling to some officials, others just don’t have the cahones to fight at the expense of their seat, too many perks.
Personally, impresarios seems to resonate more with the current political climate. Its fun to say, it sounds more important than it is, and some congressman might not be able to spell it, which might serve as a litmus test before we let them take the reigns. Labels are arbitrary, their use and their meaning change over time, but while we have conventional understandings of these words, lets use something a little more appropriate for the situation. High-muck-a-muck is a very close second.