Auburn had five different people take the snap from the center during this past week’s tough loss to the #2 Clemson Tigers. While their defense lived up to their preseason hype, the offense sputtered and left many in the stands scratching their heads in bewilderment. I don’t think the Auburn Family cares who their main quarterback is, but they desperately want someone to lead the team.
It isn’t that much different when you consider the election for our nation’s President. Obviously there are people that passionately want to elect Donald Trump, believing that he is the last chance for America to reclaim its place as the dominant country on earth.
Others believe that the election of Hillary Clinton is crucial to our country’s future. They believe her long government service is needed as America faces challenges domestically and abroad.
There are three other groups left to consider. First, there are those that are literally holding their noses and trying to decide which of those two candidates are the least of the worst. This is evidenced by the historically high negative ratings that both candidates poll.
Secondly, there is a growing group that believe the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, or the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, are best suited for America’s future. They believe that Democrats and Republicans are part of the problem and that the time has come for a third party solution. Stein or Johnson will not be elected this year, of course, but their supporters may influence the outcome in several states.
Finally, there is the long-suffering silent majority; the forgotten middle third of our population that is not hung up on one single issue. They are looking for leadership, don’t believe that compromise is a dirty word, and long for the day when politicians actually work for solutions across the aisle. Some call them Independents.
What does a leader look like? Leadership means different things to different people. We can all agree that George Patton was a great leader on the field of battle, but would he have made a good President? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. More than a handful of our Presidents had affairs while married.
The political microscope makes it harder than ever to rise to the pinnacle of public leadership. It is not enough to be a leader; you must also be morally perfect. You must be photogenic, energetic, and have the ability to say prophetic and astounding things in less than eight words; that inspirational sound bite that captures America’s attention.
Of course, you must have access to obscene amounts of money in order to be a viable candidate for major office. Some estimate that over two-thirds of a candidate’s time is spent raising money. It makes you wonder when they have any time to think about the solutions to the problems they are promising to fix.
Business News Daily recently ran an article quoting seven successful business leaders about what leadership means to them. Perhaps these seven different thoughts give us a map to defining who would be our best leader for the future.
Without any order of importance or priority, this is the list they came up with. Leadership requires ambition. Good leaders must have a good attitude. Leadership means being in touch with your people. Leaders set the right example. Leaders can’t stand alone. Leaders can get the best out of people. Leadership is all about giving and serving.
Each of these points could individually be the subject of an article or discussion. Perhaps, as a voter and citizen, it is more important that you consider what leadership means to you. How do our choices fit into these categories? What other leadership qualities do they offer that are important to you? Can you find a reason to vote based on something other than your dislike of the other candidate?
I will add my own thought about leadership. Leaders have the ability to inspire. Auburn has three talented quarterbacks, but they haven’t found that one that can inspire the rest of the team. However, that is just a football team. We are talking about the United States of America here. I have been looking for that candidate to inspire me. I am still waiting.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org