Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Love Affair With One's Self

Once again I am struck by the behavior of the leader of the largest city in South Dakota. Two separate but distinct actions/behavior occurred this week that are too unbelieveable to ignore. The first was a quote in the March 12th Walmart article in the ARGUS LEADER.

Huether said residents told him they needed more retail when he campaigned for office three years ago.

“I was committed to seeing what I could do. Thank goodness I was elected mayor,” he said. “North side, we’re getting a grocery store. North side, we’re
getting retail.”

Least we forget the fact that "Walmart considered building in 2007 in northwestern Sioux Falls but then abandoned almost all new stores nationwide when the economy faltered." Our current mayor was elected in 2010. Are we really to believe that he is the driving force for Walmart building a new store in the north end of Sioux Falls when it has been on the drawing board of Walmart's planning since 2007? They just needed to find the right location and the right economic climate. The timing is right, the SF Development Foundation owns the property. Just what did the mayor do regarding this latest Walmart plan that we should be thankful we elected him mayor to make this happen?

The second incidence of self love occurred during the final game of Summit League Championship between SDSU and NDSU. If you watched the ESPN2 coverage of the game until the very end, you were privy to an interesting shot of our mayor who was sitting directly behind the sports commentators who were speaking on live TV. There was no ignoring the antics of this person behind the commentators in the shot who was jestering and waving like a giddy college student. Oh, it's not an SDSU student who just discovered he was on TV, it was the mayor of the good city of Sioux Falls.

I suppose on the face of it, the calling out of these two latest incidents could be considered petty. That might well be except for the fact that these two incidents once again demonstrate the continued self-adulation and love affair of one's self. If only there were two of him.

My father taught me, time and again, that behavior mattered and that behavior validated character.

I don't doubt that this mayor wants to leave a legacy. I don't doubt this mayor's energy and conviction in trying to get things done in Sioux Falls. The thing is, though, he is not a one man show. Things are not happening in this community just because of him alone. He continues to demonstrate a theme of "me", instead of "we" by word and deed.  Isaac Newton has a great quote about leadership - If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants. The only giant here is the mayor himself.

In the upcoming release of the documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney, Cheney is quoted as saying if you want to be loved, go be a movie star. Feeding the monster of self aggrandizement must be exhausting. But then, if one surrounds one's self with people who gild the ego, the love affair can go on forever or at least until the next election.

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