We need a hero…
Recent headlines in USA Today have covered a rising basketball star and the celebration of the 500th episode of The Simpsons. Perhaps Americans need a distraction from the politics of late. Perhaps we’re looking for a hero. This country has been looking for a leader but it really needs a hero. Norman Schwarzkopf said it best, “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” I believe our hero will emerge during this campaign cycle if we know how to identify him amidst the smoke and mirrors.
George Washington was described as a “Visionary Leader.” This is one who can see into the future, encourage others to share this vision, and strive together to attain it. He encompassed all the heroic characteristics that fostered a strong beginning to America.
Reflecting on the presidents in my lifetime, Ronald Reagan ultimately stands out as someone I could trust: He looked me in the eye and spoke from his heart. He wasn’t perfect, but he saw me on the other side of the television and did his best to provide me the opportunity for a good future. Bill Clinton exhausted me with his campaign efforts. I don’t think he ever got his voice back. George W. Bush made me proud to be an American and show support for our troops. Each of these men showed devotion, passion and faith. They also stood powerfully by our flag and our values and listened to the American people: their bosses.
What are the characteristics of a hero? Here is a great list with some famous definitions:
- Bravery: “You can’t be brave if you’ve had only wonderful things happen to you.”-Mary Tyler Moore
- Courage: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”-Winston Churchill
- Determination: The difference between the impossible and possible lies in a man’s determination.”-Tommy Lasorda
- Dedication: “The only tyrant I accept in the ‘still small voice’ within me.”-Mahatma Gandhi
- Endurance: “Don’t pray for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.”-Unknown
- Perseverance: When you are persistent, you are bound to be victorious eventually.
- Valor: To be bold enough to stand against the wrong when no one can show true heroism.
- Selflessness: “Without selfless service, no one ever receives the fruits of their rewards.”-Sri Guru Granth Sahib
- Sacrifice: “Those things that are precious are saved only by sacrifice.”-David Kenyon
- Humility: “To become truly great, one has to stand with the people, not above them.”-Charles de Montesquieu
I never really had a famous hero growing up. Instead, I am continuously inspired by those who do much with very little. These are “real” people who understand struggle, have calloused hands, and pray for God to continue to indwell them with these heroic characteristics.
With the current presidential campaign in full swing, there is a lot of talk at the coffee shop about the candidates (I live in a small farm town in Illinois). They are basically described as “the robot with rehearsed lines that is out of touch with the average and poor Americans and just complains all the time,” the “brilliant man full of ideas but baggage,” the “older guy that really understands our Constitution but doesn’t ‘get’ those foreigners,” and the “hardworking young family man that is honest and understanding but a bit quiet.” Pretty amazing that none of the political analysts have described the candidates in this way but that this is how they are seen … at least here.
The neighbors wonder, though, what is hiding behind all the money? Why would a candidate wanting to earn trust simply by bashing other candidates instead of standing tall on his own platform? Does he not believe in himself enough that he can only build himself up on the distorted shortcomings of others? Back where I come from he’d be labeled a bully. And the folks here that are wealthy (and we do have a few 1-percenters) still dress in jeans and put in a hard day’s work on the farm. But I suppose that’s why Rick Santorum won Iowa: Hard work is still a respectable attribute. Humbleness and integrity are also key ingredients to leadership.
I feel as though if this country is going to return to its greatness, America needs a president who is willing to “sit a spell” and listen with genuineness, look us in the eye so we can see his heart, yell and scream and fight for our freedom, and stand tall with our flag as our troops protect us.
So instead of “big money analysts” discussing “big money politicians,” I encourage you to drive out to the local coffee shop and sit a spell. Listen without interrupting. Hear that many in this country are tired of “money” buying votes and “money” running our penniless country. Think about what makes a hero and those you look up to. The United States is filled with every day heroes. Perhaps defining what a hero is will help us in our selection of a new president. We can only hope that the next person in Washington will be more like Washington … George, that is. In honor of President's Day, happy birthday, President Washington.
Photo Credit: bbaltimore