What makes a great leader?
Maybe this is not a fair question and maybe it doesn’t have a logical answer. Some people may even say it isn’t a question — just my opinion. When did America start electing our leaders based on information strictly provided by the news media?
Has it always been a major factor and the person with the most visible face wins regardless of qualifications or actual purpose for seeking the “position?” My own view is limited to a minimum amount of personal experience and a whole lot of observation. What I observe from local politics to national elections is simple — the two national parties want their person in power regardless of the expense and pitfalls of their getting elected.
Is there anyone who ever looked at a ballot that didn’t wonder why one or two (or more) people in the various contested races even wanted to get elected? A career politician is exactly that — someone who finds a way to survive in the strange world of politics where “angels dare not tread.”
Some of our great leaders over our history were not politicians. Maybe they were too honest to carry that label. However, fate found a way to thrust them into the limelight and they rose to the top of the pool like cream rising to the top of a carton of unhomogenized milk. George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower come to mind when I think of men who didn’t start out as men who sought politics as a way to establish themselves in the role of leadership. Maybe winning a war helps, but what comes to my mind as I think of both of them is being needed to solidify a nation at a time of emotional stress and not men who tried to use their military careers to promote their political careers.
Finding someone who chooses to sacrifice their own personal goals for the benefit of society rather than to achieve personal wealth, fame and start a family dynasty is not always easy. The Kennedy family has managed to be represented in the Massachusetts political arena for generations and we had a brief period where it appeared the younger brother of the assassinated President John F. Kennedy would be the heir to the role. Regardless of the cause and your feeling about the family’s Camelot image, personal gain was a factor in their motive.
What I see is not necessarily a bad situation, but alarming if we allow it to happen out of our own disinterest. When we have a Clinton family try to provide both a husband and
a wife to occupy the oval office, haven’t we fallen into a trap? With billions of dollars spent on political campaigns, the likelihood that one person will get a disproportionate percentage of the publicity, is very likely. The publicity doesn’t even have to be favorable to everyone, just enough to keep people aware they are available.
Donald Trump got so much free television coverage it borders on the obscene. This was not a result of a well thought out program of tax reform or a more workable healthcare program. It was simply “the news” all day everyday. What we elected is the most vocal and perhaps controversial leader America has ever had. But most of all he knows how to get attention. And, even after getting elected, his Tweets are news on all major news programs and his family’s
questionable involvement keeps the front pages full of information on Congressional hearings that hamper work on meaningful healthcare reform. Please remember, I supported him over his Democratic opponent, but it was my view of a best choice. My first choice was Governor Kasich of Ohio who probably wouldn’t have been much fun for the news media.
Some day maybe we’ll see a new face who rises from a log cabin in Illinois to the White House without the connection to the Ivy League or a multimillionaire family’s support. Surely there are non-political leaders who truly want to
serve all of mankind and their generation will draw them to the forefront — much like we saw in Arkansas as the reverend Mike Huckabee ended up in the state’s highest political position. It has at the least been an interesting story and sounded like a good “rags to riches” story until it became one.
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