Friday, February 29, 2008


I am reminded of a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies The American President . [written by Hollywood's greatest dialogue writer, Aaron Sorkin] In it, the character played by Michael J. Fox says, "People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand." In terms of this political scene right now, I think this is where we find most Americans. We are in the position of wanting someone with genuine leadership who can give us something to believe in. In the event there is no one with genuine leadership to lead - we will "drink the sand" of whoever sounds best. In the campaign for the Presidency in 1992, James Carville got William Jefferson Clinton to focus on three things: the economy, healthcare, and "change" (as in change in Washington and the need to move forward for America). It was a highly succesful campaign and got Clinton elected over the incumbent George HW Bush. Whether or not a person believes Clinton delivered on his promises is certainly debatable. But the point is that Clinton gave people a reason to believe, hope and think that he knew what he was doing. He focused on the 3 things that hit Americans most. Flash foward to 2008. We sit here looking for the same things. Our economy is in the crapper. It is clearly seen in the housing market crash, the ever lowering federal interest rate in the hopes of something good happening, the rise in price of consumer needs like food and gasoline, and the list goes on and on. The current President can hem-and-haw all he wants about this not being a reason to panic but in the lives of real people it is. Most of America is scared to death about what is going to happen economically for us all. Healthcare is another issue. Let me be the first to say that I do not think universal healthcare is the answer or the thing that we should pursue. On the other hand, I think the cost of health insurance and anything to do with medicine is way too high. It is easy to blast ideas on providing healthcare for all people unless you are one of the people who are gambling that their health will stay good because they don't have the insurance or money to pay for anything "bad." Finally there is the notion of change. I don't think we want as much change as we say we want. No, I think change has more to with the idea that we want someone to step into the Oval Office and truly lead this country and this world. Someone who gives a rip about people of all races, religions, and economic statuses. We want someone who is going to lead not based upon popular opinion or personal impulse but on what is actually right. We want someone not in politics for personal gain but for the sole purpose of leading people. Connect with real people, let us know you care, and take us where we are not today. That is the change that will matter. Who is the person? Are they actually running for the Presidency right now? Who knows. That is for us as voters to decide. My hope is that all of the lofty promises, hopes, and dreams that Senators McCain, Obama, and Clinton are throwing out actually mean something to them. Whoever takes office - give us some genuine leadership. Michael Douglas responds to Michael J. Fox in the movie with this, "Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference." Do we know the difference? Do our candidates know the difference? Only time will tell.


Mr. Anderson said...

i love that movie too. leadership is always something people look for, and unfortunately it is also something that some do not have. you cannot lead if you are unable to look at all that surrounds you and see why its there, why it has happened and what have you done about it.

but no matter how bad things may seem to be, remember that we live in a nation where you can buy a microwave for $29.99 (shrader gave this quote a few weeks ago)