Sunday, April 24, 2011

Old School Presidential Leadership (Would Love to See Some of That Again)

Director David O. Russell wrote an interesting post over at Huffington Post.  Russell brought attention to a speech President Franklin Roosevelt gave as the 1936 elections loomed.  There is a video and the text of the speech in the post.  I decided to read the speech, and I found myself inspired by Roosevelt's words.  I was also impressed by Roosevelt's accomplishments, as well as his willingness to take on his political enemies.  As Roosevelt put it, he welcomed their hatred.  Russell, I think, wanted to remind people of what political leadership and courage look like. 

Sadly, I have to say that I've not seen much of either political leadership or courage on the national level since I've been paying attention to politics.  Though I am sure there are those who would argue that examples exist, none really stand out.  I've heard mostly platitudes, bromides, gibberish and bullshit.

When I think of leadership, at least in the 20th century, I think of Presidents Roosevelt, Roosevelt and Eisenhower.  There were leadership moments from Wilson, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Reagan (each of these presidencies were marred, for me, by various issues ranging from the introduction of segregation in the Civil Service to Iran-Contra). 

The 21st century has not proven promising.

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