Current president fails in tests and traits of leadership

Posted 20 October 2020 at 8:39 am


I recently enjoyed reading Pulitzer Prize winning author and acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Leadership In Turbulent Times”.

In this very timely and scholarly account, Ms. Goodwin chronicles the lives and presidencies of four of America’s greatest leaders: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson. She writes that their success as leaders was due to their ability to be guided by the greater good as well as possessing an uncanny political talent for bringing about consensus for a cause that was otherwise contentious.

Most would agree that while leadership may be difficult to define, it is most certainly a driving force that embodies a deep sense of humanity which is critical in bringing about civility, compassion and purpose to a nation.

Ms. Goodwin writes that leadership is found in a family of traits and patterns of behavior. Among them she cites humility, empathy, resilience, courage, respect for diverse opinions, control of negative impulses, the ability to connect with all manner of people and a commitment to keep one’s word.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ms. Goodwin’s book, I must admit in all honesty that it was very depressing to realize that for all of the greatness that was once one of the hallmarks of our democratic republic – the Presidency, we are now suffering as a nation as hundreds of thousands are dying an agonizing death. The streets are ablaze with hatred and racial and ethnic hostility, and we have become a worldwide embarrassment due to our leader’s incompetency and delusions of supremacy.

Lincoln was eulogized by Ralph Waldo Emerson for his merciful, humble and patient leadership during the darkest days of the Civil War. In contrast, our President lacks any of these traits and is a racist bully and psychopathic liar.

FDR led our nation through the trials and tribulations of the Great Depression and World War II and we are now led by a fascist who has left us without an international ally (except Putin) and for some reason totally ignores an out-of-control $27 trillion national debt.

LBJ’s Civil Rights Act (1964) was the tangible cornerstone of his vision to bring about a truly American Great Society. Our current leader is a homophobic and misogynistic buffoon whose vision of greatness is defined by how well the stock market is treating his billionaire golfing minions.

Ms. Goodwin offers that… “Leadership is a mirror in which the people see their collective reflection.”

Very sadly as we see ourselves, and the world observes this same “reflection,” current American leadership at the highest level has descended to a disgraceful low and unapologetically dishonors the legacies of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

RBG ut vos RIP.

Doug Miller