If we look for leadership from the founding fathers of this nation, we have an abundance. These were people who would risk their own necks and personal wealth building to achieve a goal for the betterment of their, state, soon to be nation, and countrymen. These were people who could and would compromise to strengthen this country – they put the country and the goal of freedom and prosperity first over partisan rancor.
Where are the leaders with a true overarching future vision of where this country needs to be and the leadership and knowhow to make it happen, like Alexander Hamilton, rising from a poor and orphan like childhood to become the trusted compatriot of George Washington, to firmly set this fledgling country on a sound financial footing? Where are the Thomas Jefferson’s, who despite maintaining a very literal view of the Constitutional powers of the Presidency, took the opportunity, to acquire what became know as the Louisiana Purchase and worry about it later – the Constitution did not cover the acquisition of land for the United States? He did this because he knew it was the right move to better this nation and he had the leadership capability to pull it off. Where are the Teddy Roosevelt’s, who had a true vision of this nation as a great player among the great nations of the world? He saw the need to extend the growing power of this nation to influence world events, saw an opportunity, and initiated the great white fleet. He sent the U.S. Navy in modern formidable white ships around the globe as a means of demonstrating just how mighty the U.S. had become. Where are the Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt’s who had the vision and leadership to take on the national rebuilding to end the depression and then to lead this nation and the world through the largest coordination and assemblage of people and machinery in the history of mankind to defend the world against the tyranny of the Axis Powers? Where are the Ronald Reagan’s who had a vision of a world without the totalitarian iron curtain and who had the temerity to fight for and lead the world to the tearing down of the symbol of the iron curtain – the Berlin Wall? All these leaders did more for the country that the acts listed above – they were visionaries, leaders, and statesmen.
Today we are faced with three major choices and soon to be two major choices for the Presidency of the United States. Can we honestly say that any of these choices have a true vision of where this nation needs to be in 25 or 50 years? Or, more importantly, have the capability of leadership and understanding of the facets of the changes we need to make as a nation to retain the position as the nation with the greatest standard of living. Does any one of them understand that we may walk and talk like the world’s military super power and a nation possessing a consummate standard of living, but that the underpinnings of this strength and status are rapidly failing. The world knows this, but do we? Can we honestly say that we have the best and brightest in the Presidential race and in our Congressional and Senatorial races? Have any of them laid out where we should be, how we can get there for the second half of the twenty first century, and how they will lay the ground work to achieve the goal?
This country faces the combination of a complex and very dangerous foreign policy coupled with our ability to compete in the world to maintain our financial strength. Currently we operate like the rich playboy who spends his wealth, but has no means of replacing the wealth he spends.
Our populace is no longer being given heavy doses of history or civics in school. Without the preponderance of history and civics knowledge can we make good decisions about our legislators and Presidents? Can we fully understand the events that shape our world? The early childhood discipline coming from the schools and then from service in the military is gone. Today, discipline in schools is a dirty word – our children must be free to make their own choices as they have rights, despite solid scientific evidence that the brain is not fully developed in matters of judgment, until these children are will into their twenties. Without the discipline to expect what is right and to walk the tough walk, we seek the easy way – the short term solution to our problems. The mortgage crisis is an example of those seeking the short term solution to their problems without regard to the long term consequences.
Without the basics of understanding world events, we are more susceptible to undo influence by the media disguised as fair purveyors of truth, when they are making every effort to steer our thinking with selection of articles, selection of news items, and slanted interpretation of the happenings of the world, rather than just accurately and fairly presenting what has happened. The media disguises opinion commentators as news journalists to manipulate the populace. How are we to know the difference, unless we have the necessary background?
Our Congress is filled with people who are there, not for the public good, but for what they can get out of it. Why then would we have Congressman in office for many multiple terms, unless they are doing very well for themselves in office? If you do not believe me, just count the number of disgraced Congressman who have had to leave the Congress under sordid circumstances. We have political parties more concerned with the party than the country.
This country is facing challenges of the like that we have not faced before. We astoundingly have no comprehensive energy policy that factors in all sources of energy and the transformation over time from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Renewable energy is simply not ready to be the energy motor of this nation, so we need interim solutions. Energy is the motor that makes this country work. Without energy we will never achieve our objectives in this world today. We have allowed the world to dictate our cost of energy and yet we still will not start using our own resources on an interim basis. Our President recently went to Saudi Arabia to ask them to produce more. Had I been King Abdul, after I stopped laughing, I would have said “Let me get this right, you want me to produce more and you will not produce more in your own country – you will not drill in ANWR or on your east and west coast continental shelves, you will not build refineries, and you will not build nuclear reactors. You have the audacity to hope that we will deplete our reserves so you can retain yours. No! Go hug a tree!” We have no trade policy other than free trade, yet we are ill equipped to trade in a free market. What shall we trade with – do we produce for trade, do we make a guided national effort with leadership to determine what our national comparative advantage is and exploit it or improve it – No?
Without true nonpartisan leadership at all levels, we will not be and cannot continue as the nation with the world class standard of living and the ability to influence world events through both financial and military might. Are the candidates running for President the leaders with a true vision for not only what they will deliver to the country, but also how they will get it done. It is easy to promise much and deliver little – it is easy to limit your focus and promise on a few things, but it is another thing to size up a gargantuan task and have the vision to know where we should be, how to get us there, and the leadership and experience to pull it off.