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“How do you define greatness?”

When most people think of the word great, they automatically assume it means good. But what we fail to realize is that one can be a great leader and be a bad human being at the same time. How so, well Martin Luther King Jr. and Adolf Hitler were both great leaders. Just hearing those two names used in the same sentence draws criticism. But remember what I said; I said great leaders are different from great people. A great leader is someone who can command control over an individual or groups of people. Good people are those who seek to be as moral and ethical as possible for the greater good of all mankind. So it is possible to be a great leader and yet be a bad person.

I think saying that Adolf Hitler was a great leader creates such disconnect with a lot of people. Understandably so considering he ordered the deaths of millions of people in one the most genocidal acts in human history. But if he were not a great leader, how would he have managed to get people to follow him so closely. It’s easy to say, well he spoke hatred and separation. But any man can stand in the street and spew hate, but how does one get others to listen. For starters you have to be able to command an audience by connecting to the masses through an emotional channel. You do so by expressing an already internalized feeling that people hold. Then giving them a reason to feel angry by transferring that rage onto someone else. Therefore you make the powerless feel powerful by convincing the powerless they are losing at no fault of their own.

After convincing people it is not their fault, express how the country has turned its back on the powerless. While at the same time gave what is rightfully theirs to someone else who is not deserving. We as people love to blame our faults and pitfalls on others. Speak to that emotion and discredit people higher up: media, politicians, and powerful world leaders who say otherwise. Furthermore, you empower this group of people by convincing them they are more than who has been benefiting outside of them. The idea that all is possible is a testament to great leadership, but not a good person. Well what about great leadership and good people.

Martin Luther King Jr. was both great leader and great person. He is the testament to what good can come of the world when one uses their powers for good. He had the voice, the ability to empower the powerless, yet also empower the powerless without making the powerless feel superior to the powerful. Because when you make the powerless feel empowered by way manipulation you get a Nazi Germany. The powerless group channel all their anger to the group who supposed to be in their way of progressing. This creates a reality built around vagueness, and does not aid the powerless in their pursuit of freedom. This is why MLK was successful in his pursuit.

MLK had the voice, the words, and the heart to get his point across. He empowered Black people by encouraging them to combat the hate not the group. Even though our rights were being violated by White men and women, channeling the anger to this group as a whole is counterproductive. Instead, you channel the anger and rage into a strategic plan that sways those in power who happen to be White men and women. Because once those in power make the call, the rest will follow suit. See, in the end, greatness is an ambiguous term. We use it to mean good, yet great can have multiple meanings. If you Google great leader, you’ll see all the good-nature people because that’s how we use language. But broadening that terminology will better aid in understanding how the bad people become great leaders as well.

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