Monday, May 16, 2011

Leaders Are Like Eagles. They Don’t flock.

Leaders Are Like Eagles.  They Don’t Flock.

You Find Them One At A Time

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet


I’ve been thinking about leadership the past few weeks.  Normally, I don’t spend a great deal of time sitting around pondering leadership.  However, when a Presidential election looms, I do.

Choosing a leader is a dangerous thing.  America should have learned this lesson from the results of the election of 2008.   We are paying dearly for our monstrously bad choice in a national leader.

When I look at our nation’s leader today, I am reminded of something someone said a while ago.  I don’t remember who said it, nor do I remember the exact words the original author used.  But if I may be allowed to paraphrase -- it goes something like this:  “ In times of dire danger or distress, there almost always appears one who has all the answers and knows exactly what to do, what course of action to choose.  Often, however, that person is insane.”

America is approaching another moment of decision.  It behooves us all to search diligently for someone to lead America back to her proper position as world leader.   We Americans chaff at following.  We are totally unfit for following.  We are a nation of leaders.  It is our birthright.  It sparkles in our DNA. 

America has no king -- because we refuse to follow a king.  We do not recognize the “Divine Right of Kings.” 

It is a near impossible mission for a nation, such as ours, to choose one from among us to bear our nation’s colours, to represent us before the world.  Often we get it wrong. Occasionally, we get it right.  At our last time of choosing – we got it wrong.

In roughly eighteen months we will have a chance to correct that national mistake and save our country.

There are always devastating consequences resulting from bad choices.  The deadly consequence America faces is the loss of its freedom, of its liberty, of it’s very “self” as a nation.    Yet, there is reason enough to believe that we, as a nation, are set to repeat that mistake -- and doom our country.

Someone once said:  "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles...they don't flock, you find them one at a time."(Anonymous)  (I have this “pearl of wisdom” written inside the flyleaf of my Bible.  It has been there for at least twenty years.  It is a frequent reminder of how few leaders there actually are.)

I thought of this expression as I observed the “flock” of Republican Presidential candidates grace the debate stage in South Carolina a short time ago.  Maybe it’s my nature, but I automatically question the motives of ANYONE who actually SEEKS a leadership role, especially if that role is a position of power over me.

Allow me to offer an example of what I see as a REAL leader.

Remember Moses?  God chose Moses to lead his people, Israel, out of bondage in Egypt.  He announced his decision to Moses, as the Bible tells us, through the “Burning Bush.”  If I may be allowed to paraphrase, it went something like this: 

God to Moses:  “Moses, I want you to go down to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let my people go. Then I want you to lead them out of that ace and take them to a land I will show you.” 

Moses to God:  “Why me, God?  I’m not the guy, you want!  Nooo!  I’m no public speaker.  I stutter and stammer and, well, I’m not the one you want for this mission.  Hey, why not send my brother Aaron.  He’s the guy you REALLY want.  Not me, Lord.

But as is His wont, God prevailed, Moses, went, Pharaoh caved, and Israel walked away a free people after four hundred years of slavery.  

Moses was a reluctant leader.  He was, nevertheless, one of the greatest leaders of men ever to live.

Lao Tzu, traditionally considered the founder of Taoism, once said the following:  "A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him.... But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, "We did it ourselves."   (Does this remind you of a current national leader?)

Here in America, we have a year and a half to decide, each for himself, or herself, whom our next President should be.  (My personal decision is already made, but he is reluctant to lead America.  THAT fact (that he is reluctant) plus his many attributes that just scream L E A D E R! assures me that my choice is practical and sound.

The fate of America, indeed, the fate of the world, is at stake.  America is desperately needed, once again, in the role of global leader.   We have tried all the rest.  Isn’t it time we turned to a person reluctant to seek the reins of power?  Yes, I think it is.

This not the time for Americans to follow an “uncertain trumpet.”  We need a strong, capable, visionary, with proven leadership skills, willing to accept the call of his people to get out in front and carry our banner, our ensign, into whatever may befall us as a nation. 

Unlike today, Americans WILL rally to a leader -- not because HE thinks he deserves it, but because WE think he deserves it.

J. D. Longstreet

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