Horse Manure Leadership
Let’s face it: America is in Trouble.
The good news is that together, we have a chance to fix this forever and for good.
This is the Inaugural Episode of my new show called “Ed Talks” – our show will cover leadership, business, productivity, and more.
On Episode #1, I show you how we can solve the American Crisis with (new) great leadership. You’re going to love this and then you’re going to want to go and make a change.
Powerful Moments in Ed Talks Episode 1: Horse Manure Leadership
0:45 – What Does Horse Manure Have to Do with Politics? 3:10 – There’s a Crisis of Leadership in the USA
4:30 – Problem #1: Prioritizing Issues Over Character 8:50 – Problem #2: Prioritizing Power Over People
9:40 – Four Promises of Our Movement
10:30 – Problem #3: Prioritizing The Next Election Over The Next Generation 13:20 – The Solutions: Here’s How We Fix Them
18:55 – Ed’s Final Thoughts
Ed Talks: Episode 1 Transcript
What Does Horse Manure Have to Do with Politics?
America is in trouble, and in the next few minutes, I’m going to show you not only how we got there but what we can do to fix it. Let’s just say the answer has something to do with horse manure. Hi, my name’s Ed Rush. I’m a former F-18 fighter pilot, a father of four, an entrepreneur, and a five-time number one bestselling author. When I joined the Marine Corps back in 1995, I raised my right hand, and I made a promise to protect the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign and domestic. I spent the first 20 years of my career protecting the Constitution against enemies foreign, and I plan to spend the next 20 years protecting the Constitution against enemies domestic.
What about that horse manure thing? The year was 1894, and New York City had a major problem. You see, horse manure was piling up so fast that they couldn’t get rid of it faster than it was piling up. Some experts came in, and they predicted that within the next six years, by the turn of the century or year 1900, horse manure would be piled so high that it would reach the fourth story of most buildings. That means if you lived on the third story, you’d wake up in the morning, throw open your shutters, and oh, horse manure everywhere.
Now, just like most problems, in most cities or most countries, the political lines immediately were drawn. There were folks on one side who had one solution to the problem. There were folks on the other side who had another solution to the problem. And one side hated the next side, hated the next side, and they argued and they argued, and they didn’t get anything done. Until one day, an entrepreneur named Henry Ford came along and invented an automobile, and all of a sudden the problem of horse manure went away, to the point at which you actually had to try pretty hard in Central Park to track down some uncleaned-up horse manure in New York City.
The point is this. We’ve got the American right and the American left, and the media would like to tell you that there’s 45% on one side and 45% on the other side and this little tiny middle. But what I’ll tell you is that the statistics are completely wrong. Traditionally, about 6 to 8% lie on the fringes, extreme right, extreme left. In the middle are a lot of people who would like to see something different. According to a recent Gallup poll, 61% of Americans say that they would vote for a third party if they were given a viable option. Well, I plan to give you one.
You see, our situation in the United States is exactly the same as it was back in 1894. Shoot, the horse manure analogy actually even applies here as well. We have a system that is corrupt from the top down. I want you to think about this for a second. We have 340 million people in this country, and every four years we look at a ballot and we look at two names, and we go, “Wait, this is the best that we have to choose from out of 340 million people?” And I’m going to tell you in a minute why the great people that you should be voting for, that we would love to have as leaders, aren’t there, and I’m also going to tell you how we can fix it.
There’s a Crisis of Leadership in the USA
But in the United States, we have a crisis of leadership, and on this show, this version of Ed Talks, which is actually the first of a series of what’s wrong with America and how we can fix it, I’m going to talk about the importance of leadership. Our leadership at this point has become so corrupt. This is how you can tell when they admit it in public. Think about this for a second. When someone asks a legislator, like someone in Congress, one of our 538 members of Congress, somebody asks a legislator about a bill, they can actually look into the camera and say, “No, I can’t really in good conscience vote for this, because I won’t get elected next election if I vote for this bill.”
Think about that for a moment. There are public leaders in good conscience telling people that they’re voting yes or no based on them getting elected, and that’s got to stop. It’s time for that to change. Look, I’m creating a movement. I’m trying to raise up leaders, put people into the spots that they need to be, who are willing to step out there and do the right thing, even if it costs them an election. And so I’m going to show you three different ways in which our political system has failed in leadership, three different ways that we allowed it in a lot of ways to fail, and then three different ways that we can totally get in and fix it.
Problem #1: Prioritizing Issues Over Character
Okay, the first one, it comes into this. There are three problems and three solutions. Now, the first one is this. We as a country for far too long have prioritized issues over character, and when you prioritize issues over character you create politics without principles. Let me give you an example of this. If you have a person, like most of our politicians, who are willing to lie, and I’ll just tell you, all you need to do is go to a website called PolitiFact, you type in your legislators, and it will tell you how many times they’ve broken promises. I’m going to tell you, there’s not a lot of people that are very high. Even some of the best people, lifelong people that you think, “Man, that guy,” or “She’s the best,” look, it’s going to be like 25%. Even the best scores are like 25% lies. Think about that for a second.
And the reason that happens in our culture is really simple. We’ve prioritized issues. Now, I’m not saying that issues aren’t important. The issues are really important. They’re vitally important. But what we’ve done is we’ve given somebody the ability to look you in the eye and say, “Oh no, no, no. Don’t worry about that. I’ll vote for you on your issue.” And as Americans, for far too long Americans have turned a blind eye to the character of the person that they’re voting for, while at the same time good people have run out of the political sphere. People who could be great leaders have run completely out of the political sphere, because they’re afraid of getting attacked.
I want to think about this for a minute. We have a president and a vice president, so there’s two main leaders in the executive branch. Then we have 538 people who are in Congress. That’s the House of Representatives, 438, and the Senate, 100 people. And we’ve got nine people who sit on the Supreme Court. Now, the way it works in the Olympics, let’s take swimming for example. The way it works in the Olympics, the Olympic trainers train up and then they participate in a race. The best one moves on to the next race, moves on to the next race, moves to the Olympic qualifying, then you make it onto the team and you race in the race, based on how fast you are. And then when you make it to the Olympics, you go through another qualifying round or two to make it into the final race.
You know when someone jumps into the pool for the 100 meter freestyle, Michael Phelps and everybody else, swimming as hard as they can in that race, you know those are the best swimmers in the world. Why? Because they’ve gone through that weeding process. What kind of process do we have here in the United States? None.
I’ll tell you, the people are where they are right now because they know someone who has a lot of money. The political Olympics goes down to money, and money is driven by someone looking someone in the eye and saying, “I’m going to take care of you on your issue.” Now, is that the kind of leadership that we want? Listen, I’m here to tell you that we need less politics in our leadership, and we need more leadership in our politicians.
Problem #2: Prioritizing Power Over People
Second thing, and this is really important, a politician is a person who prioritizes power over the people. A politician is somebody who prioritizes power over the people. Abraham Lincoln once said that we were a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but when you look at Congress, and here’s the best evidence for this, if you asked anyone, I’m talking about walk up in the street to a random person, I don’t care who they are, Republican, Democrat, moderate, centrist, Green Party, someplace in the middle, someplace in the fringes, it doesn’t matter, you look them in the eye and you go, “How happy are you right now with our political leadership?” They’ll all nod their heads. I’m telling you, 340 million people across America, at least the ones who can speak, not the little two-year-old and under, I’m talking about the adults, they’ll shake their head and they’ll go, “Man, we have a problem.”
We have a problem, and every knows we have a major problem. But think about it this way. The average congressman, senator, congresswoman gets paid $!77,000 a year as a salary, and yet when you look and you include especially all of the nonprofits that these people build to put money aside, you see tons of multi, multimillionaires. I’m talking about people who are worth 40, 50, 60, $70 million and haven’t done anything in their lives except in public office. Now, you do the math on that. You either have to be the best investor in the world and get on the ground floor of Dell and Apple, or something else is happening behind the scenes.
The second thing, and this is really an issue, the second thing is that most politicians have four priorities. Priority number one, what will get them elected? Priority number two, what will get them money? Priority number three, what will get their friends elected? And priority number four, what will get their friends money? Now, it used to be that they would talk about this behind the scenes, and nobody would admit it. But nowadays they talk about it openly. I mean, they openly talk about legislation that they can and can’t vote for, based on their inability to get reelected or to raise money. That is an institutionally corrupt system.
Four Promises of Our Movement
That’s why in the movement that we’re creating right now, this nonpartisan movement just to put great leaders into place, we’ve created a new four promises. Remember, the average politician goes, “What’s going to get me money? What’s going to get me elected? What’s going to get me money? What’s going to get my friends elected? What’s going to get any money?” We’ve created a new set of promises. We set a new set of priorities, and the priorities go like this.
Number one, what’s morally just, right, and conscionable? In other words, no leader, no statesman, no stateswoman should ever be asked to violate conscience in order to vote for some piece of legislation. Number two, what’s best for my country? Number three, what’s best for my state or my region? And number four, what’s best for the world?
Number one, what’s right? Number two, what’s best for my country? Number three, what’s best for my state or region? Number four, what’s best for the world? I want you to think about that for a second. What would it be like to have 538 people in Congress right now who would look at a piece of legislation, and even if it meant that they wouldn’t get reelected, they’d say yes and vote for it anyway, because they cared more about you than they did about politics? That’s where we’re going. That’s the kind of America that we can have when we get the right people into leadership who love our country and are willing to serve unselfishly.
Problem #3: Prioritizing The Next Election Over The Next Generation
Number three, a politician is a person who prioritizes the next election over the next generation. So number one is when we mistakenly made a mistake in prioritizing issues over character. Number two, a politician is a person who prioritizes power over people. And number three, a politician is a person who prioritizes the next election over the next generation. Now, I want you to think about this for a second. Every two years, the entire House of Representatives, all 438 members, are up for reelection. Every four years, the president is up for reelection. Every six years, the average senator is up for reelection. What that means is that every two years, about 98% of the elected national leaders are up for reelection.
What that means is that every policy that comes out is a two-year policy. It has a window in mind of about two years. Let’s take care of it for two years, because if not, I’m not going to be here. That’s the way that people think. When you think like that, you accrue a national debt of what we’re up to now, about $22 trillion dollars. Think about this for a moment. If we just service the interest on $22 million dollars, and it’s just 1%, if it’s just 1%, that means automatically every year we put $2.2 trillion dollars into our national debt.
Now, any mathematician, statistician will tell you, there comes a point where there is an escape velocity, where at some interest rate and some number, where it literally can’t be stopped, and our country goes completely bankrupt. That’s from leaders who prioritize this election cycle over the next generation. We’re talking about our kids, we’re talking about our grandkids. The bill that we’re placing on them, instead of saving money for them, what we’re doing is burdening them with this.
Now, I want you to think about another country for a second, and I know this is a strange country to think about, but I want you to think about China. In 1949, China published their 100-year plan for world domination. 100-year plan for world domination, and if you follow that plan, which you can actually read online, if you follow that plan, China has executed that almost perfectly throughout the years, so that they want to be the global superpower in 2049. That’s a 100-year plan. Here in the United States, shoot, we’d be lucky if we even get a two-year plan. That’s what happens when you prioritize elections over people.
Now, I told you there were three problems. Problem number one, we vote mainly issues over character. Problem number two, we have people who prioritize power over people. Problem number three, we have politicians who prioritize the election over the next generation.
The Solutions: Here’s How We Fix It
Now how do we fix it? The first thing we need to do is we need to identify, train, and equip new leaders. Look, here’s the thing. My goal is very simple. Over the next two years, I’d like to train, equip, and put in place at least 400 new leaders at the national level, at the state level, and at the local level. These are people who love this country.
There’s people who’d look you in the eye and really care about you, who when they wake up in the morning, they’re thinking, “How can I make life better for you? How can I change the world so that it moves better for you? How can I help move technology forward so that it serves you better? How can I create a world that’s cleaner, that runs better, that has less waste and abuse? How can I create something amazing during my time?” A person who knows that they’re a steward of the Earth and a steward of the things that they’ve been given. Those are the kind of leaders that we want to train up.
Now, I travel the country, in fact, I travel the world looking for these kind of leaders, and when I talk to people, there’s a phrase that people almost always use that just breaks my heart. It just breaks my heart when they say this, and I’m telling you, I’ve heard this so many times, I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count the number of times that I’ve heard it. When I talk to somebody, I’m like, “You would be a great leader. You got the skills. You got the thought. You love people. Come on, let’s talk about this.” You know what people say? “Nah, that’s okay for you, but I wouldn’t want that for my family.”
I mean, think about that for a second. What happens if all the good people across this country, all the good, morally just people who just want to see great things happen, what happens when all those people go, “Nah, it’s good. I don’t want that for my family”? When that happens, you know what happens? It creates a vacuum, and into that void run all of these people with no conscience. And they don’t care about you. All they care about is their pocketbook. All they care about is the next election.
But that’s our fault. We created that void, and so our job is to look America in the eye and say, “You know what? I don’t care what happens. I know that evil people in politics make up accusations and then run them in the media. I know people have horrible hearts, and they’ll just spin things and try to ruin your life. But you know what? This is the right thing to do, because when you do the right thing, you win.” Look, people have been telling me for years, this is impossible. They’re like, “You can’t do that. This is impossible.”
You know what? They didn’t make a movie about a boxer that was supposed to win, they made a movie about Rocky. They didn’t make a movie about the Indiana basketball team that was supposed to win, they made a movie about Hoosiers. They didn’t make a movie about the football player for Notre Dame that was supposed to play every down, they made a movie about Rudy. America loves impossible things. We do it all the time. We probably do it more than the possible things. And so this is possible. All you simply have to do is believe. It’s time to start training some leaders. That’s number one, train the leaders.
Number two, avoid partisanship. Partisanship is designed to divide the country and create a money vortex. I’m going to talk about this in a future episode. Here’s what partisanship.
does. It puts us on the outside, and it makes us angry at each other. So you have somebody who lives one place, who thinks the other people over there are stupid. And you have somebody lives this place, has never been here, but they think they’re stupid. And it divides us, and when we come at it with news and the media cycle and social media, it pulls us apart. People say that America is more divided now than ever, and I think that’s a bunch of baloney.
Here’s why. I’m going to go back to the Olympics. Every four years, some swimmer jumps into the pool for that race that I mentioned, which is the 100 freestyle. One of those dudes, two of those dudes, or if it’s a women’s race, one of those dudettes, two of those dudettes, they hit the water. They got the cap on with the American flag on, and I’m telling you, if you’re like me, you’re standing on top of your couch screaming at the top of your lungs, being like, “Go, America!” And when they stand up, think about that for a minute. They stand up, and they get the gold medal around their neck. They stand on the top of the podium, and you see those flags come up, when you see those flags come up and that top flag is the American flag, and then the Star Spangled Banner starts to be played, I mean, come on. I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, moderate, Green Party, when that happens, your heart starts pumping.
And you get that pride that swells up inside of you. You know why? Because it’s an American. Because it’s an American. Because it’s an American that won. And if you nodded your head to that, America is not divided, we are united. Look, we are united in the fact that we are a great country. We are united in the fact that we love each other. We are united in the fact that we love America. We are united in the fact that we know we have an amazing future. And we’re also united in the fact that we all agree that our politicians are awful, and it’s time for them to leave.
So your job is to forget partisanship for just a little while. Think about this for a second. The average legislator, and especially the average president, such a small percentage, maybe 4% of their activity, is actually on the issues that we vote on. Most of that stuff has nothing to do with that, like a rogue dictator rises up in the middle of Europe or Africa, and now a president has to do something about that. You didn’t ask him about that before he or she got elected. You didn’t even have the opportunity to, because you didn’t even know it was going to happen. We don’t know what’s going to happen past 2020. That’s the reason why you elect great leaders with great character.
Okay, so number two is avoid partisanship. One of the best ways to do that, by the way, is to stay away from the news. Look, the news is designed to push you to the outside, so that they can suck your money into a vortex and take it away for you.
Okay, number three, support a cause that brings unity. Find people. Look, we’re creating a mission right now, a vision – visit www.EdRush2020.com so you can learn more about it. We’re bringing leaders up. we are training people to be amazing, AMAZING and LOVE THIS COUNTRY. And that’s it right there. I got a quick way to end it, but before I do, let me just summarize.
Ed’s Final Thoughts
First, find, train, and equip leaders. We’re looking for about 400 people to take places nationally. Number two, avoid partisanship. Stay away from that angry stuff, and stay away from the news. And number three, support a cause that brings unity. And if you’re looking for one, look no further that what’s below, because we are getting it going on.
Now, I want to take you back very quickly to 1997, and we’re going to go all the way across to the border of Israel and Jordan. Israel’s eastern border and Jordan’s western border is the Jordan River. It runs north-south and divides those two countries. And there was cooperation that was happening between the farmers on one side and the farmers on the other side. Israeli farmers would open up a gate, walk over and talk to Jordanian farmers, and Jordanian farmers would walk over, talk to Israel farmers, and they would share ideas on how best to use water, how best to grow crops. And there were friendships that were developing.
Then one day in 1997, a Jordanian soldier named Ahmed Daqamseh opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolchildren. These were 13 and 14-year-old girls who were simply walking from one side of the river to the other. He just opened fire, and in the process he killed seven of them, going home to his country, where many in his country, including his mom, celebrated him as a hero. His mom went on Al Jazeera and said, “I honor my son, and I think what he did was brave, and I believe that he will have a reward in eternity.”
While on the other side, Israeli families mourned the loss of these seven innocent girls, 13 to 14 years old. Listen, I have a 14-year-old daughter. When I heard that story, my heart wept. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to lose a daughter. And so the Jewish moms and dads and families went through their week of mourning, where they would put sackcloth on and they would tear their clothes, and they would mourn their loss of their daughters.
That story tells us a lot of what it’s like in the United States right now. Tensions are flaring. There’s great division. There’s people, frankly, who don’t like each other, and they’re not going to be persuaded. And typically when that happens, violence is next. Let me tell you the rest of the story. That first Israeli family, the first family to lose a daughter, in the middle of their mourning, all the family in the house, all of a sudden heard a knock at the door. They opened the door, and who should they see but none other than King Hussein, the Jordanian king, on his hands and knees. And he looked at them and said, “I am so sorry. Your loss is my loss, and your pain is my pain. And I promise to spend the rest of my life seeking peace between our two countries. Can you ever forgive me, and can you ever forgive my people?”
You see, he had personally flown his own airplane from Jordan into Israel, met with Benjamin Netanyahu, and went from each house to every door, to each mourning family, to ask their forgiveness. Now, when King Hussein went home, there were many in Jordan who said that he had disgraced the country, but I will tell you, it was one of the strongest acts of leadership that I’ve ever heard of historically. A person willing to humble himself before mourning people that some considered his enemy, so that he could reconcile and create peace.
Listen, I’m here to tell you that that’s possible in this amazing country of ours. All we simply need to do is find and put in place leaders who are going to flat out going to change the world. And so for the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about what’s wrong with America and how together we can fix it. Stay tuned. We’re going to talk about equality. We’re going to talk about healthcare. We’re going to talk about the national debt and how we can solve that thing probably in a year.
We’re going to talk about all these things, and our goal is to move our country forward, so that we can accomplish something amazing together and 20, 30 years from now, hand a beautiful United States of America to our children and our grandchildren. My name’s Ed Rush. The website is www.EdRush2020.com.
This is what I believe, and I’ll talk to you soon.
About The Author
Ed Rush is a world-renown speaker, a five-time #1 bestselling author, and a highly successful business consultant who was featured on CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC. He has spent a significant amount of time in the cockpit of an F-18 fighter jet, so he knows the value of strategy and the power of focus. He has effectively taken the principles that he learned flying faster than the speed of sound, and translated them into good business. His clients range from small startups to multinational organizations, and include CEOs, founders, political leaders, sports teams, national universities, Hollywood stars, and even a contestant on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. To buy any of Ed's books, visit his bookstore right now or hire Ed to speak at your next event.