To lead in word and deed

February 5, 2019

 Before we hear the president address our great nation tonight with his State of the Union speech, let’s review what it is that makes someone a good leader.

   It was the Republican president, and five star general, Dwight Eisenhower that summed it up best when he said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.”

    A true leader sets an example of honor, integrity and balance.

    A true leader doesn’t seek to put down the people they lead, but rather elevate and inspire the best from everyone that they serve. This is true of all good leaders from sports to business to politics.

   Yes, leadership is a service. It is a noble calling that has less to do with power and more to do with inspiration. Sadly, there are some leaders that do not understand the full gravitas of their obligation to the whole and only see themselves in the equation.

   While a lot of people may accuse the president of being a tyrant or a fascist, he is neither. Our president is a demagogue. A demagogue exploits fear and ignorance while calling those that disagree with him liars. This type of leadership offers our country no good service. Whether it be on the sports field or in a business setting or in the leadership of our country, when we bring out the best in the people who we serve is when we are at our strongest.

   I get it. I truly do. I understand that many Americans see the president as a strongman and this is something that they feel they can identify with but pettiness and spite are not what makes one strong. Those qualities represent weakness. Honor and vision, courage and compassion; these are the hallmarks of great leadership.  

   So, tonight, while listening to the president speak, please keep an open mind about leadership.

   What qualities of a good leader do you embrace and admire?

   What qualities do you see in our president that inspire you?

   What does a nation ruled by fear have to offer that a country stirred by promise cannot?

James Kennedy

James Kennedy is a local artist and former businessman. He enjoys fine art, cooking and music. His own artworks are on view and available for purchase at his website.

Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas [source: Gallery 51]
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