I long to be inspired again!

19 09 2019

inspireIn President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration Day speech, on January 20, 1961, Americans were encouraged to . . . “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your county.”

Two years later, on August 28, 1963, in Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech”, our nation was inspired to imagine that day when people will . . . “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

January 28, 1986, after the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, President Ronald Reagan comforted a country mourning the loss of seven courageous astronauts by beautifully articulating the tragedy as their having . . . “slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God.”

And on July 25, 2016, Michelle Obama spoke about the power of not meeting evil with the same evil.  “You don’t stoop to their level,” she said.  “. . . when they go low, we go high!”

Oh, how I am longing to be inspired again!  Every time I turn on the news I’m longing to hear from a national leader who can speak in a way that lifts my sights to the highest of human goodness, and who can give me picture of the world not as it is, but a vision of the world as it should be . . . as it could be!

My wife and I are binge-watching “The West Wing,” and it is not unlikely that this fictional account of the work of the people in the White House is raising my already high standards, and leaving me with expectations that may be slightly unrealistic!  But surely we cannot allow the uninspiring times in which we are living to become the norm.  Surely we cannot continue to put uninformed and unimaginative people in positions of power.  Surely we cannot continue to condone leadership that lacks moral and ethical integrity, that denies facts, and that scorns those with differing perspectives.  And surely we cannot continue to embrace leaders whose preferred vehicle of communication is a mere 140 word tweet, and whose only method of debating important concepts and ideas is by name-calling opponents.  Regardless of the political party with whom one identifies, surely these are all things upon which we can agree!

How often have we all heard someone say, “I want your average Joe in the White House, and in Congress . . . common people . . . just like me!”

Well I DON’T want people in the White House, OR in Congress, who are just like me.  In fact I want women and men who are not at all like me.  I want leaders who are smarter than I am.  I want leaders who are more informed than I am.  I want leaders who are more articulate than I am, and who are more knowledgeable of all that is going on in the world than I will likely ever be!  I want leaders who will inspire me — who will call me and this nation to a higher version of ourselves, and who aspire to their own better nature!

Is it really too much to expect our leaders, like the West Wing’s Josiah Bartlett, to be less concerned about reelection, and more concerned about speaking the truth?  It is too much to expect our leaders to communicate in a ways that builds others up, and that edifies our people – all people, of every gender, race, ethnicity, and ideology?  And is it too much to expect our people, to walk into a voting booth and put character before charisma, and principles before party?

I hope not.  Because I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking these days.  Something has gone terrible wrong in our nation, and we need leaders who can lift our sights to all that is right, and good, and beautiful, and pure! We need leaders who truly understand service before self, and who know in their bones that in a great nation, no one succeeds unless everyone succeeds!  We need leaders who, in the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “have unquestionable integrity”; and we need leadership, that in the words of Stanley A. McChrystal, “builds trust and . . . inspires.”

Oh, how I long to be inspired again!

Would someone, please, for God’s sake, and for the sake of our nation . . . inspire me.  Inspire us!

 

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