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The New Silent Majority – Not Good Leadership.

July 19, 2013

Raquel Welch Award-winning actress, author & fitness icon Raquel Welch says, “60% of Americans are Boomers, and yet they are all but invisible in the popular media and American culture. That has got to change.” I agree. Effective leaders must be vocal and demonstrative about their beliefs – it’s not enough to only “believe inside your head”. Good leaders show exactly how much they care through their actions within the social domain, politics, and other human interaction.

The term “silent majority” was popularized by President Richard Nixon in a 1969 political speech. Nixon was seeking the support of those who never raise their voices in dissent or for consent. The value of his terminology was that it brought to our American consciousness the realization that we have too many people who do absolutely nothing to try and govern their own lives and all of the societal factors that can affect them.

Many claim to be too busy or maybe even not well versed enough on the issues. John Ben Shepperd, former Attorney General of Texas in the 1950s and a great leader, used to speak about the typical expressions he would frequently hear from the Silent Majority of his time:

“You can’t do anything about it – forget it.”

“Politics is a corrupt business – it’s no life for a gentleman.”

“You can’t blame me for the mess this country is in – I ain’t voted in 25 years!”

On writing to a congressperson – “The letter would never get past his secretary. He wouldn’t pay any attention to a mere taxpayer anyway.”

“Not me – I don’t know anything about public affairs.”

General Shepperd also stated, “Our ailment is slumped-over citizenship, and the only cure for it is better citizen posture – a straightening of the spine.”

Therefore, I say to Raquel’s Boomers: what are you waiting for? Why would be content to be relegated a role as a member of the New Silent Majority? Can I give you a wake up call? I want you to get engaged and be visible about the things that you see and don’t agree with – or do agree with.

Network As a Boomer, you probably remember actor Peter Finch in the 1976 film Network. Finch’s character popularized the phrase, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!” Well, I agree with actor Finch as well.  If you have the time to read and respond to this post, you certainly have the time to get involved. Get off the sidelines and act! I’m not only talking about voting – that’s something you must do as an American – if you don’t, you are sorely deficient in your responsibilities as a citizen.

I am talking about reading up on political and social issues. How about writing an email to your congressional representative? Circulate a petition, hold a rally about a cause, pass out flyers at a public place, write a blog, teach history to your kids – do something. Here’s a quick 10-question quiz to see if you are or are not a member of the New Silent Majority:

❶ True  □  or  False  □:   I know who my local, state and federal representatives are by name and political affiliation.

❷ True  □  or  False  □:   My elected officials are in my email contact folder so that I can quickly contact them.

❸ True  □  or  False  □:   I have been to a school board meeting in my area even if I don’t have kids in the school system

❹ True  □  or  False  □:   I belong to (or volunteer) at least one civic organization (Rotary, JA, business or non-profit organization)

❺ True  □  or  False  □:   I am involved in providing any type of service to my community (school, local government, church, etc.)

❻ True  □  or  False  □:   I read about political issues in a newspaper, magazine, or other printed or electronic matter (not TV).

❼ True  □  or  False  □:   I have strong feelings about the issues and frequently talk with others about my positions.

❽ True  □  or  False  □:   I teach my kids to engage civilly and how to debate an issue using logic and rationality – not mudslinging.

❾ True  □  or  False  □:   I have volunteered to help a political candidate get elected (phone banks, mailings, rallies, etc.)

❿ True  □  or  False  □:   Within the past month, I have contacted my congressperson about an issue of importance to me.


7 to 10 “True”: Congrats, you are in the game!

5 to 6 “True”: Careful, you’re becoming invisible!

0 to 4 “True”: I can’t see or hear you – no one else can either because you are in the New Silent Majority!


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