Churchill, FDR, and Joseph Stalin are the consensus picks of my cocktail party survey to fill the vacuum of leadership that is apparent in our misshapen world. I seek to find some sanity in today's collective psychosis. Is there a cure to the multiple ailments that afflict the globe? Who is out there with the intellect, courage, and historical perspective to propose a universal doctrine to which all of us can ascribe?
I start the discussion with the lament that my antenna fails to reveal any nomination for a leader?s with a quota of nobility of purpose.
I was immensely blessed by a close friendship with John Gardner. John lived, exhibited, and wrote beautifully about leadership.
He observed " the first job of a leader is to keep hope alive." In Bill Moyer's fine eulogy he quotes John "What we have before us are breathtaking opportunities disguised as insoluble problems". John, "The uncommon man" would have been a great president. Were he still alive I am certain that he too would have great difficulty in affirming his ideals with the current cast of characters.
Who has enough stature to face and approach the glaring headlines than place painful blotches on our humanity. The seeming intractability of our problems is depressing, where is the hope?
My personal first nomination is Winston who is my choice of the most significant personage of my lifetime. Imagine what he must think of us today? Surely he would need help, and so FDR is a quick second nomination. He and Churchill would make a considerable dent in repairing our armor.
Having laid these two names out there I was met with another compelling nomination that was not of my choice but carried obvious gravitas. That is Joseph Stalin. What if Stalin and Churchill and Roosevelt would caucus and address our insoluble problems? I would bet on their resolution.
But this cast of characters is no longer available for consult or drafting, and so we are reliant on the present. My antenna only picks up one name which is Angela Merkel who seems to stand tall and strong above the crowd. But she lacks a critical mass of other leaders to align with. This is not a task for a single person. Who else?
What about surveying our national leaders in America? Yesterday's Iowa circus failed to reveal any global level person. Who could we trust to represent us on the big stage? From my present perch I resonate mostly, incompletely, with Bernie's message. But I sense that he is not big enough. The others either scare or repulse me. Donald's presence is an affront that I can only compare with my outrage as an American when Bill misused the Oval Office. Trump's perseverance is egregious and embarrassing to us loyal Americans.
So out of the tumult I would project that in November I will most likely pull Hillary's lever as a last resort. Who else is there? Michael?
Where are WC, FDR, and JS when we need them?
Bill Moyers in John Gardner "Living, Leading, and The American Dream" Jossey-Bass; San Francisco, 2003.