What makes a great leader?

The Weekly Vista - - News - LEO LYNCH

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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