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Reflects on ‘great leaders’

July 19, 2012
Messenger News

To the editor:

Great leaders emerge during, in fact, because of, crises of historic proportion, like Washington leading a haphazard militia against England; Lincoln commanding incompetent generals during the Civil War; or Churchill fortifying a beleaguered nation beneath the onslaught of German air raids. If these crises hadn't occurred, these "transformational" leaders might not be remembered at all. Each was forced to overcome challenges of immense proportion, and this is precisely why we call them great. These men were not historic figures before overcoming epic difficulties. They were simply men who became great historical figures because of how they overcame the crises of their day.

Obama, conversely, whines that the current crisis prevents him from becoming great. He blames the circumstance, when it's this very circumstance that we hired him to transcend in the first place. Like no other, Obama blames the difficulty of his historic moment, the very platform that provides him the opportunity to demonstrate his greatness for all future generations to venerate.

Strangely, Obama informed us in advance that he was not only a great leader, but a "transformative" one. He ascended to the presidency with the self-proclamation that his leadership would alleviate not only the tawdry geopolitical landscape but the physical one as well. Candidate Obama erected faux-Greek columns beneath which to regale us with his greatness, and he raised this self-worship to apotheosis with his pronouncement that future generations would herald his ascendancy as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

Since then, President Obama has never tired of reciting excuses for his failure to rise. Obama has blamed ATMs; Japanese earthquakes; the Arab Spring; Europe "washing over on our shores"; past administrations; the Congress - in which the Democrats enjoyed a solid majority in both houses for half of his term, et cetera ad nauseum.

Obama can't simultaneously rise to the occasion and blame the same occasion for his failure to rise. Truly great leaders - of the kind that don't announce themselves - don't go down in history by explaining how they would've been great, if only it weren't for ...

Jef Cook

Fort Dodge



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