Friday, January 21, 2005
Great Leadership for America
George Washington - Abraham Lincoln - Winston Churchill - Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt - Ronald Reagan - George W. Bush. All of these men - marked by courage and distinction, stood, faced, and defeated incredible odds. The latter has yet to be judged by history. But one thing is for sure, he's on his way to a distinguished legacy.
George Washington was a visionary and a tremendous leader. He faced incredible odds. Contrary to popular belief, many colonists wanted nothing to do with the American Revolution. In fact, many were anti-war even back then. Yet he had confidence that he could defeat an invincible enemy. Many scoffed at the idea, and said it was a ridiculous charge to keep. Yet he did it.
Abraham Lincoln was not a terribly popular president. Yet he was steadfast in his belief. He protected the union and led our country through a civil war. Yet, today America is by all accounts a major success story. Imagine if this great man decided that appeasement was the answer.
Speaking of appeasement, Winston Churchill rose to power in England as its prime minister after Neville Chamberlain ignored the Nazi incursions in Europe. Winston Churchill, the lone voice in a sea of appeasers was finally able to convince the UK that his course of action was necessary, and that war was inevitable if the world were to remain free.
FDR, for all his faults, was able to lead America during one of its worst wars. He brought to the table a comforting feeling. A president for 3 terms, FDR provided a feeling of consistency to America in a time of need. His ability to act in the defense of our country singles him out. He was a great leader.
Ronald Reagan, maybe the greatest president of the 20th century, defeated the soviet communists. And for all intensive purposes, ended communism as we knew it. Reagan's threat to arm the United States with the star wars programs bankrupted the Soviet Union, and it eventually collapsed under the heavy economic burden it could not sustain.
These men, all great, were also all ridiculed. They were called stupid, ignorant, uneducated buffoons. War mongers all. At each step, people were told that they would bring doom to their people. Each had no redeeming qualities. The press and their opponents hammered away at them daily. But they stood firm in their resolve. They believed in their visions for the future, which were clear and defined by guiding moral principles. Does this sound familiar? It should.
George W. Bush will be added to this list of men. He shows all of the qualities, and yes, all of the critizisms of these leaders. For those of you on the opposite political aisle, you may not see it. But I ask that you would listen to him speak next time not through the lens of a political opponent, but of the historian. He speaks with such clear vision, with words so inspired they almost make history themselves. Also, he speaks as one of us. His down home southern accent is an instant heart warmer. He constantly talks about freedom as a gift of god, and not of government. These are exactly the principles of the founding fathers. We have someone in the White House who truly understands the reasons America exists and why it still stands today. He is not mentally impotent as his opponents have said. Nor is he guilty of hubris. He is a humble man, who believes his life and the lives of all men are reliant upon the almighty. He prays every morning for wisdom, and he prays with his staff and guests and foreign leaders from around the world. This has been well documented ever since he took office. Staff members have been known to intrude on him while he was on his knees praying in the oval office. Does this sound to you like an arrogant war monger?
Whether you like him or not, Pres. Bush admittedly has been a very successful president. Just about everything he's ever wanted has been passed and signed into law. He received the most votes of any other candidate in history.
President Bush presents us with a broad vision that looks to the future and honors our past. Yet he drives his political opponent crazy, why? Because they know that he means what he says. I want to be clear on this: When Pres. Bush says he's going to do something, he is going to do it. Follow through is such an important element of being a principled leader. In fact its amazing that we have a president with such great follow through. Past presidents used to speak and never get around to doing what they were saying. That might be because they were so wrapped up in the political process of things. As much as I admire him, Bush 41 is a good example of compromising principles for the sake of politics. That brings me to my next point.
While President Bush might be aware of the politcal dealings that go along with everyday life in Washington, it has become apparent (at least to me) that he doesn't much care about it. I think he's above that. He sets his agenda and then appoints people to go out and make it happen. He believes what he is doing is right, and he doesn't back down once his mind is made up. He has surrounded himself with good people whom he trusts, and that is also vital to a successful leader.
Not only does he provide a clear vision for foreign policy, he also provides one at home. Pres. Bush is a supporter of an ownership society. He believes people are more free and less dependant on the government when they own their own homes and property. Nothing could be more true. This is also a civil rights issue, and since he took office the number of minorities owning their own homes has skyrocketed. Not only that, but he has repeatedly lowered taxes and given every American their money back that the government has no business in having. From what I understand, he plans on lowering taxes again. He has given Americans their freedom time and time again.
His speech today was no acception to the rule. It was broad and sweeping. The speech was marked with hope and a profound love of god and country. Its inspiring message called upon us to recognize the power of God in the freedom of mankind. They would be empty words from a lesser man. But from George W. Bush, this leader who has proven his worth so many times, they were great words.
So, after 4 years.... over 30 million people around the world now live without fear of oppresion. Women in Afghanistan of all places have the right to vote, go to school, and have jobs. Our taxes have been lowered several times, and more Americans are back to work. America is inspired, she is bright and beautiful. America is strong, and she is blessed.
Some quotes from today's speech:
"Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave."
"Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it."
"From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
"America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home - the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty."
"When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."
-George W. Bush.
and one last quote, but not from the current president...
"America is too great for small dreams." -Ronald Reagan