College of Management and Human Service

Dean Joseph McDonnell publishes new op-ed in Portland Press Herald on how to lead an angry public

In his November 18 Portland Press Herald article "Off Campus:  Henry Fonda character shows how to lead amid angry paralysis," Dr. Joseph McDonnell, dean of the College of Management and Human Service, writes:

"There was a time when it took locating a nuclear plant or an oil pipeline through a community’s backyard to make the public angry.

But nowadays, survey results show the public is angry, really angry, about a host of issues – health insurance, gun control, immigration, ballooning college debt, the gap between the rich and everyone else, the overwhelming sums of money influencing the electoral process and a government that just does not seem to work.

The public remains deeply divided on solutions to these vexing issues but shares a common feeling of being angry.

Many have lost faith in the capacity of the political process to produce desired results, creating an exasperating feeling of powerlessness. Political leaders speak to the public’s fears and tap into its frustration but cannot allay those fears, calm the agitation or resolve the issues that give rise to the anger.

How should we and our public officials deal with this situation? In the 1957 movie “12 Angry Men,” Henry Fonda in his role as Juror No. 8 provides us with timeless insights that might help our leaders and the rest of us address this anger."

Click here to read the whole article in the Portland Press Herald