Where are the leaders in America?

By Paul Moomjean 10/06/2011

Growing up in America and in the church, I was told repeatedly about great leaders throughout history. Moses. The Apostle Paul. Martin Luther. George Washington. Abraham Lincoln. Winston Churchill. Nelson Mandela. Ronald Reagan.

And now? No one. This world is void of true leadership. America hoped Barack Obama would become the liberal Reagan, but he has instead chosen to pass the buck and blame everyone around him. If we have to hear, “It’s the Republicans’ fault” one more time, then he should step aside and let Hilary Clinton run the country, because the GOP isn’t going away, and he needs them to get on board with something. Meanwhile, the church has lost its moral compass, with theological bullies writing letters all over the Internet and theological wimps like Rob Bell, who is denying the very puritanical belief systems our first American ancestors used to ship up and shape up the people. With no one taking a stand, our country will soon see her last days, and then Obama can proudly say he truly did “fundamentally transform” this country.

Leadership is not just a quality, it is an action. What destroys me about the current state of Republican wannabe presidential hopefuls is that no one wants to take ownership of the party, but instead they want to simply smile and say, “Vote for me because I couldn’t do a worse job than the guys before me.” At least George W. Bush let everyone know he was the Decider. That’s leadership. What America has in her country now is a group of limp-noodle politicians who cry about the situation without offering to lead us to new paths.

Take for instance Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s take on Social Security. Perry, in his book Fed Up, calls the government’s retirement plan a Ponzi scheme, but he hasn’t shared his ideas on how to fix it. At least Mitt Romney has suggested raising the retirement age. Perry’s lack of leadership on this issue will hurt him now and later if he wins the primaries. Romney, meanwhile, has been taking a beating for his health care plan. He keeps crying about how his plan was good for his state but not the country. Huh? Now that’s spin! As for the rest of the potential nominees, they seem about as ready to lead the free world as I am. That’s not a compliment.

The donkey party isn’t that much better. Obama wants everyone else to do his job, and is begging people to vote for him. Hovering in the mid-40s, his poll numbers plummeting, the president of the United States looked at the American people and actually said on Sept. 14, “If you love me, you got to help me pass this bill.” If you love me?

I’m sure Nelson Mandela or Winston Churchill would never have begged their people in such a degrading way. “If you love me, you got to help me fight the Nazis” or, “If you love me, you got to help me fight racism” would never flow from those men’s lips.

In the church, where the moral compass is supposed to be pointing northbound, infighting and the bully pulpit have created a less productive country. Our country’s founding religious figures, like Jonathan Edwards, warned his people of a God who wants to see productivity and action, whereas today’s church leaders either whine about silly things or try to divide the church on major theological issues. What our church leadership should be telling people is to get to work. We have an unemployment issue like no other. No one wants to lead the fight, and this is where the church could call on Christians to help take care of the least of these.             

Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Mrs. Robinson” was about this problem, and they found hope in sports figures: “Going to the candidates debate/ Laugh about it, shout about it/ When you’ve got to choose/ Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose/ Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio/ A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.”

Maybe its time we look to sports. Or, hell, even Mrs. Robinson.   


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