Politics is not for superheroes

"I'M A TROUBLE MAKER," Laura Alonso told me. "I've been one all my life."

Alonso, an outspoken congresswoman in Argentina representing Buenos Aires, sat down to share her thoughts on leadership for our "Micro Management Stories" video series. Alonso took office in December 2009, after years of working as an activist for greater transparency in government. She was serving as the executive director of the large nonprofit Poder Ciudadano (Transparency International's Argentine arm), when she decided it was time to change her government from the inside rather than the outside.

"One of the great beliefs I have is that ordinary people have to, and must be, in government," Alonso said. And so she took her own advice.

Watch her video:

You can also read the transcript:

"One of the great beliefs I have is that ordinary people have to, and must be, in government—and ordinary people have to lead the change. Politics is not for superheroes. Politics is not for extraordinary men or women. It's just for us: the common people, the ordinary ones.

"We need to enter into politics with all the same thoughts and perspectives that we have in our common and ordinary life, because finally when you are in government, you are deciding for these people. You are not making the great decisions, thinking about the great interests—you need to think about ordinary people's lives. That's why the common people need to be in Congress, need to be in government, and need to be making decisions.

"Because who will know better than an ordinary person which are the problems with the health care system, with the pension system, with the education system and with transport system? It's us. Those that work every day, that take the metro or the bus to our jobs, that go to school and see the problems. So more ordinary people in politics, more women in politics, will make a difference—a difference we're all waiting for."

Lillian Cunningham is the editor of On Leadership.

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Lillian Cunningham is the editor and feature writer for The Washington Post's 'On Leadership' section.
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