“With or Without Congress:” The State of Disunion Address

When President Obama in his 2014 State of the Union Address said that he was going to move forward on the economy “with or without Congress,” he said something about himself. And likewise, the Republicans’ response said something about themselves. That something in both cases is that neither appears capable of working together to effectively deal with America’s growing problems domestic and foreign. What both Democrats and Republicans seem to be saying is that there is no trust between them; that they lack the desire and will to sit down together and negotiate compromises. Instead, they play out their differences in the media, Congressional committee meetings, and partisan speeches with the purpose of convincing Americans of the righteousness of their respective positions. After five years with the current White House and for the most part Congress, they are clearly uncomfortable with each other. The few attempts that they have made to work together go no ware. At this point into the second term of President Obama and with mid-term Congressional elections approaching, neither side is willing to bend and offer an olive branch. It’s stubbornly my or the highway thanks to the extremists on both sides. Consequently, the White House and Congress of the most powerful nation on earth and leader of the free world has decided to ignore each other and go it alone in the hopes that these mid-term election results will provide more leverage by one party over the other. If the election results are inconclusive then we will be faced with a lame-duck President with two years remaining in office and a Congress that is content with doing nothing and making sure that the President does the same. These last years of the Obama Presidency are primed to bring more inaction and divisive politics that can only hurt American power and prestige around the world. There is an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” As a nation, we need to go forward together.
Paul Okum has 40 years’ experience with the Federal Government in the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Army, and Defense in leadership positions, including being a US Army officer. Mr. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders. This is my 58th Blog dealing with leadership in America.
For more information about Paul Okum and “Leadership DNA,” visit

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4 Responses to “With or Without Congress:” The State of Disunion Address

  1. Good article. I’ve been looking for people who are thinking about our situation in our country.

    I understand your discussion about the “deadlock”. I am not sure any of what we are going through can be solved politically. I am thinking it won’t. As you discuss in your audio on your website, we must identify good leaders. I will delve into your discussion of that some more.

    There are some issues that are “deadlocked” that I do not think there is any compromise. They come down to issues related to morals. I won’t get into those details, but there are some things where there is no compromise in my opinion. Do you address that in any of your writings.

    • paulokum says:

      Jim, I’ve written “Leadership DNA” and 58 Blogs on the state of leadership in America. My assessment is that we have an epidemic of poor leadership and we must examine the causes of this situation. Some are more obvious than others. As I answer your comments regarding my approach to leadership, I think you will see where I stand on how to identify good leaders.I’m working on a response to your other two comments. I believe that if all parties put our nation first and foremost, then we can solve anything together. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. I am interested to hear what you have to say further.

    What I am wondering is “How can this lack of good leadership be fixed?” Is it only through education of the people? It does not seem that many current leaders are listening to things where they can learn to improve their leadership skills and do right things.

    One thing I am doing right now, is broadcasting messages that are educating people at the grassroots level, Things on life principles, freedom, and Christian principles. Seems that we need to teach at the grassroots level and raise up good leaders in general in the many areas of our lives.
    since FREEDOM is a hot topic, because we are losing it gradually, I am listening and broadcasting some messages on that. I listened to a session by Oliver DeMille. That guy is unique in his teaching of the principles of freedom. I’ve heard it like I’ve never heard it taught. We need to teach that and other principles at the grassroots level.

    • paulokum says:

      Jim, my book and blogs discuss how to turn this around. The key is that we need to recognize that the science of leadership has failed to deliver the promised land of good leaders. Instead, we need to examine the long ignored Art of Leadership and focus on identifying natural born leaders and get them into leadership positions.It can be done, but it will require a change regarding our approach to leadership. We have to let go of the flawed premise that every one can be made into a leader.

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