Leadership in America
What do the American people want from their leadership? This question must be clearly answered before the individuals with these qualities can be found. I believe that most Americans have the same goals (and therefore want the same type of leader), if only such a candidate would emerge from our two party system. How do we get there from here?
I believe that all Americans want good jobs, a strong economy, manageable debt, a clean environment, a strong military – without war, help for the less fortunate, rewards for the hard working, quality education, affordable health care, compassion for the needy, and personal liberty balanced by the liberty of others.
So what do we call ourselves? Are we conservatives or liberals? Don’t you believe in conservation of the environment, conservative fiscal policies, conservative use of our armed forces, conservative work ethic, a Christian attitude of assistance for the less fortunate, and the liberal preservation of civil liberties? Are the labels of conservative and liberal helpful, or are they simply words of division?
Are average Americans really polarized on the issues of our day? I believe that most of us just want well reasoned compromise. We once called this type of compromise common sense. Common sense is rarely black or white. Wisdom requires the ability to read the shades of gray and exercise good judgment. Of course, lines of black and white must be drawn and then re-drawn based on the situations that confront us. This is precisely why professionals “practice law” or “practice medicine”. The leaders among us can persuade us to follow their judgment when we are confronted with true wisdom.
On this continuum there are absolutes like “thou shall not kill”; but even this rule must be broken in defense of our nation. Those who correctly make these difficult decisions are the heroes amongst us. These are the leaders that we must seek, and this I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.