What Does Moral Leadership Mean to Me? The Light of Man.

Man's journey from the birth of their time has been plagued with a great divide. The rift was fabricated from an intrinsic propensity to choose the path one deems apt. The others embark their own way fueled by alternate incentives. But mere tribal discrepancies among our great early species have atrophied to the extent of genocide in the recent past. Nazi Germany could not live harmoniously with the Jewish innocent and the military regime of Yugoslavia had to ethnically cleanse Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats vying for independence. In modern society though, have such differences truly been demolished? When persons divide into nations of different governments or groups of opposing race, color, religion, gender, or social status differences are inevitable. Most make the superficial claim that discrimination has truly ceased. Indeed we have alleviated discrimination from the atrocities of the Holocaust and Bosnian mass cleansing. But, interracial unity is not absolute today despite efforts from global leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. Their toil can not resonate to all the world. The caste system in India persists on despite laws along with territorial feuds with Pakistan. South Africa is beginning to experience reverse apartheid in which the darker skinned provide less opportunity for the white as an indirect method of futile vengeance. The United States too still has locations that silently ostracize African Americans because of predominantly white culture or racist personnel. My lifetime has been rather pleasant without many ethnic contentions; however, the world is not as fortunate as me. From experience, observation, and tutelage, I have come to comprehend what moral leadership genuinely is. It cannot be bestowed by any title nor is it painless. Rather, moral leadership is manifestation of one's agony and discontent caused by the desecrated stipulations in life. The commoner is who braves the pain and the commoner is who shall act in, frankly, a rebellious manner to uphold the wants of the majority. But the rise to power will be almost unintentional because in a passionate vehemence, a moral leader strives for change and change only: not authority. Aid to less fortunate and change is plausible. Notable global moral leaders include the former president of Brazil,  a young girl obdurate for female education in Pakistan, and an unrecognized doctor who nearly died for others. Moral leadership is the sole adversary to global immorality harnessed only by those fervently aspiring for impartial equity. Let that be you.

Initially, this moral equity was certainly procured by Brazil's former president Luiz Inàcio da Silva (colloquially known as Lula) who led from 2002-2010. Born as the seventh child to an alcoholic father with multiple spouses, Lula received meager formal education. He was compelled to work from age twelve in hazardous factory environments. At age nineteen, a factory incident severed his left pinky finger. And he was delayed treatment as he had to run to multiple hospitals for medical attention. Contrastingly, this was a pivotal movement in his journey to become a leader because his lack of care encouraged him to join the Worker's Union in 1965. Naturally incompatible with the Brazilian military regime, the union fostered Lula towards the political left or faction opposing inequality and promoting social equality. By 1975 he was the president of the Steel Worker's Party. Lula became a priceless proponent of worker's rights as he staged major union activities and strikes. Furthermore, he helped form the Direct Elections Now Party which opposed the militarily cronyism of presidential elections. Lula was determined to eliminate the governmental corruption and resolved to become a leader himself. Because of Lula and the Elections Now Party's efforts, the first direct presidential election occurred in 1989. And Lula eventually reached this post by the Brazilian voters in 2002 and again in 2006. He endeavored to end hunger, thirst, and illiteracy with programs such as Zero Hunger and Family Allowance via his earned jurisdiction. His efforts for the people did not end even after presidency. Despite throat cancer and chemotherapy, Lula still advocates worker rights today. In his own perspective, he is a dissatisfied commoner fighting to provide equal opportunities to the impoverished workers and people of Brazil as well as himself. He has endured the injustice from birth-far too long. But to these people he is their moral leader.

Moral leaders are present all over the globe and have been in the past. Consider the recent heroism of Malala Yousafzai. Indeed she was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking against them. She only desired education for the young women of Pakistan. Her earliest efforts were at age twelve and she continued to peacefully protest until age fourteen when she received a death threat for defying the Taliban's extremist Islam ideals. Not even slightly fazing her, Yousafzai still rebelled against the Taliban which unfortunately brought a merciless bullet into her brain in October of 2012. The unlikely predicament resulted in her favor though as she survived. Some sources say the Taliban are still inhumane enough to oath to kill her. Nevertheless, Yousafzai's genuine passion for equal education persists on. Pakistan has transformed her into a moral leader to all youth and adults globally. Her pristine and uncontaminated sole purpose to provide education is conspicuous with her words "If I win Nobel Peace Prize, it would be a great opportunity for me, but if I don't get it, it's not important because my goal is not to get Nobel Peace Prize, my goal is to get peace and my goal is to see the education of every child." Hence, undisputed moral leadership. However, she is not the only ardent moral leader who risked her own life for the sake of impartial treatment. 

As far back as 1914, preceding Gandhi and Dr. King worked a humble and dedicated doctor: Joseph Goldberger. Initially, he worked with the Public Health Service to research and combat diseases which affected the mostly neglected poor communities. But his panache for medically succoring all Americans was seen when he investigated pellagra: then a Southern endemic in the States. He immediately reproved the claim that it was bacterially transmitted. The south officials dissented only because Goldberger was a Northerner. To prove his case he gave pellagra to eleven prisoners who volunteered because they had nothing to lose. By preventing protein intake, Goldberger fatigued them, gave them rashes, and caused skin lesions all via pellagra. He, conversely, was unaffected because he retained protein consumption. The prisoners easily recovered later with appropriate foods which proved pellagra is not caused by bacteria but nutrition (specifically niacin) deficiency. In fear of being wrong, the southern officials criticized Goldberger on his cruel techniques despite experimental success. The doctor was so concerned about the lives of the many African American, white, and immigrants in the south he chose to try to obtain pellagra himself. Taking samples from contaminated patients, Goldberger formed tablets from pellagra infested skin, urine, and even feces. Jeopardizing his life he ingested his creations but as he predicted, he was unaffected because he was nutritionally sound. Still the obstinate south would not relent but his nutritional research proved to save many who followed his niacin requirements. Goldberger had the single ambition to save the lives of those affected by disease. When stubborn fools put thousands of lives at risk for their pride, Goldberger risked his own life to save the diseased. Moral leadership is this very self sacrifice to supplant the defiled authority of obstinate individuals. It is the grim tenacity to provide for all, northern or southern, white or black.

We have come to fathom moral leadership by examining only a few dedicatees. Leadership is no autocracy nor power. It is the peaceful and appropriate utility of what is at hand by a governmental figure or commoner; woman or man; girl or boy; white, black, or brown. Each person shares experience of the omnipresent discontent but a moral leader chooses not to be bystanders but to undertake a scrupled hegemony that voices and enforces the incorruptible yearning of the people, for the people, and oneself. Lula, Yousafzai, and Goldberger needed not to persevere in the tunnel overwhelmed with darkness. But they chose not to wait, not to relent, and to fight for reasons they were candidly passionate about. Their persistence was undeniable as they labored to preserve lives as well as ethical equality in the midst of death. Moreover, they accomplished moral leadership by carpe diem. Seize the day not for oneself but for all ingenuously and without condescension. A moral leader is indistinct among the people because he or she is the people: their pain, sorrow, gaiety, and reverence. A journey from humbleness for the purpose of change. Moral leadership is jurisdiction beyond legislation or lawmaking- it is an effigy of inspiration to all who dream of amelioration in a world over trodden with injustice. Moreover, it is a tranquil battle cry to to all who want but fear to do and it is our missile to the very immorality that has afflicted mankind since their beginning. But only few leaders cannot alter a growing world. Nooks and crannies shall remain defiled and infested until unity is apparent. Indeed, there exist persons in schools, work areas, and families who uphold the divine dogmas of morality. The greatest help they can receive is your support and your own uncontaminated dedication to the cause. Embrace similarities and compromise discrepancies. Only by utter human unity can global moral leadership be ignited and sustained. Our moral leaders trudge on in the dark tunnel with the hope of even a splotch of light in the future. And they continue for the sake of the followers behind them: hoping to inspire their personal lives.

-In the face of a society burdened with inequity, let us rise to see its end not because we crave power but because we desire change. With our altruism comes unparalleled leadership among ourselves. With our conscientious want for better also comes the very definition of moral leadership: hope for the ailing man. Let us rise.

-Krishi Korrapati

High School Freshman

Springfield High School

 Illinois, USA

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