The Leader's Best Recourse, Historically, at Some Times
Tomislav, Capilyn, Bosnia Changing leaders. Sometimes violent, sometimes voluntary, sometimes mysterious and suspect circumstances, sometimes planned, orderly; sometimes chaotic. Here, medieval King Tomislav, ruler of the old Croatian Empire, see Bosnia Road Ways. What happened there. 925 AD. Disappeared. Then declared dead. Where the crown? See also Croatia Road Ways, King Tomislav.
Classical leadership, ancient Greece: Peaceful changes in leadership, mostly. Leadership was expected to end. The Greeks provided that the leader would return to the prior life after service to the public in office, no legacy to be built up, no benefit to be derived from that public office, just the satisfaction of service. See "Cornerstones of Leadership" at Joy of Equivocating, Classical Leadership. That lays out the qualities that made, to the ancients, great leaders. After the leading was over, however, the person was expected to quietly bow out.
Modern dilemmas. Does our modern benefit-while-you-are there concept, combined with the ability to spin history by PR to create an even false legacy, keep our leaders from bowing out when they really should. Do we build in an impossible barrier to simply acknowledging that efforts have failed, and another should take over. That affects legacy, and legacy is all?
Leadership Qualities that Allow for the Greater Good. What qualities of leadership will permit a leader to put the interests of the country ahead of his interest in power or legacy: or to see that his interest in other, perhaps personal, values jeopardizes his ability to serve his country.
Is it always pressure, the unbeatable opposition to the leader himself, that forces abdication. Health issues are understandable: the leader cannot serve for individual reasons beyond his control. Personal priorities? We credit the leader who knows when he cannot put country ahead of personal matters. Thank you for bowing out in time.
But what of the leader who sees no chink in his past patterns, but is confronted with opposition and violent changes in circumstance. Can we expect him to step aside even if he, looking in his own mirror, sees no error. Does the standing aside reveal a kind of singular greatness, that otherwise was eclipsed in day-to-day flawed leadership.
Demit is archaic for "to abdicate."
Word roots indicate the long history of concepts. To abdicate. Ab is "away from." Dicare is "proclaim." Proclaim away from. See ://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abdicate/.
Also, to renounce, resign, retire, stand down, bow out, vacate, cede, and the rest listed at Highbeam, ://www.highbeam.com/doc/1O996-abdicate.html/ It is also spelled "dimit." See Word Web Online, at ://www.wordwebonline.com/en/DIMIT/.
Demit: relinquish, to dismiss (again archaic) see Answers at ://www.answers.com/topic/demit/
See this rough analysis at Action Coach, Business Coaching site: "Delegate, Do Not Abdicate." The idea is that a leader never abdicates and never lets others take over full responsibility.
A great leader instead delegates, keeping overall control of the situation but not the work. That kind of leader need not be forced to abdicate, because there has been supervision, relationship, input, until a solution is found. The relationship requires performance measures and evaluations, reviews. No "abdication." Steady, clear and productive effort and remaining accountable may well mean that no later "abdication" is needed.
Abdication sounds too royal because we think of Edward II and Britain and Wallis Simpson in 1936. How about "demit." The definitions say that is archaic. What is archaic about the word "demit". Its roots are ancient as many words.
Here is more: it comes from the Middle English.
That Middle English designation means, in time, about 1150-1500 AD. See "About Middle English," at ://www.ling.upenn.edu/~dringe/CorpStuff/Thesis/Middle_English.html/
It began, then, about the time of the Norman invasion from France - and, more fun, the Normans originally were the "northmen" or vikings that took over northern France, see "The Wrath of the Northmen," at http://fathom.lib.uchicago.edu/1/777777122292/
The Middle English word was demitten; and that came from the Old French. That is logical, since the Normans came over from France. The French said, "demettre," and that came from the Latin. The Romans said, "dimittere" and parsing that comes up with "dis."
Dis. Away. Mittere. Send. Send away. That also is from the Answers site. Or, de-mittere, meaning "down" - send down. See://www.yourdictionary.com/demit/.
History of abdications.
This is an ancient, historic device, honored in its way. It enables a leader to leave before more and irreparable damage is done, by the leadership itself, or by the fact of conditions affecting and driving to it. There is no more time to be spent on delegating to others while keep the leader in place. Another time has come.
Popes have abdicated throughout the history of the church, see Nationmaster Encyclopedia listings at ://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Papal-abdication/ Canon law from the 1200's permits it, and it apparently happened several times earlier. Reasons vary - and sound very secular. Bad behavior, or simony, or ill health (this can be opposed because if the person were intended to leave the papacy for that reason, the deity would go ahead and act), or a desire to return to a more monastic life, etc.
King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne in 1936, see BBC at ://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2701463.stm/. That was for the love of a lady, Wallis Simpson.
There are other reasons for abdication: pick any.
- political pressure, etc.
How bad does it have to be before a leader seriously considers abdication, demitting so another can take over.
Lists abound this New Year's, with weeks still to go and events spiraling and rocketing unaddressed. See summary at "Add Up The Damage," by Bob Herbert, NYT 12/30/08 at A21/. See other summary at Nola site, ://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/12/springfield_ill_ap_gov.html/ When should we expect a leader to look outside his own assessments. Is that ever possible.
When unhorsed, Richard III sought a horse, and would give his kingdom for one. See Online Literature. See Shakespeare's version at Online Literature, at ://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/richardIII/25/.
Our kingdom for leaders.
Oath now, ceremonials later. Not insurmountable. It is easy to say. I demit. I abdicate. Dignified. Helpful. Now. Is several weeks too unimportant to act now. Maybe. But weigh. If noone is taking leadership, maybe that alone says that leadership is not really needed. Consider. An earlier demit may be the most altruistic, nation-first legacy that a leader can build.
And shall we also put Latin back in the schools? We speak parts of it all the time. Shall we have our children study history and the classics, to have a framework for the present. The past leads to better comprehension of who we are, that we have the same kinds of issues as our forebears, only with more drastic consequences, requiring even close attention.
There is a point where all authority becomes alike once in power. See Sassafras Tree, Democracy Spread by Roots, Runners, not force.
Open ideas, facts. See what.