Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fighting the Weakness Within

At The Mighty Middle, Michael Reynolds sees the Bush administration as weakened and primed for the kill. At Ambivablog, Amba sees our entire political structure as weakened to the point that another terrorist attack could very well bring us to our knees.

Yes. These are dangerous times not just because of the enemies without but because of the weaknesses within. In times of great strife America has often been blessed with great leaders. Where are those leaders now? Where are the men and women who can combine candid yet powerful rhetoric, decisive yet competent action? Where are those with the strength of character and force of will to reject the divisive games of petty politics? Where are those who know how to unite?

In the years since our entire nation wretched at the horror of 9/11, we have failed to elect leaders capable of navigating this new terrain. Instead of turning to those who acknowledge hard truths and offer realistic actions, we have too often fallen for the childish rhetoric of those who want us to believe in a simplistic world where “Bush is evil” or “dissent is unpatriotic.”

And perhaps we have fallen for these mediocrities because real leaders are in such painfully short supply. In an era where spin is the accepted substitute for truth, how does an honest man or woman get elected? In an age where the worship of perfectly beautiful celebrities and the quest for eternally healthy lives dominate our culture, how can a leader find success with a message that acknowledges the hard realities of our day and the hard choices we must make?

I think these thoughts and I feel the creep of despair rising through my veins. I worry that we are deeply vulnerable, that another attack will not unite us but instead rip us apart.

But such pessimism does little good. Those of us who perceive the weaknesses of our nation have an obligation to work for change. We cannot afford to say “it is what it is” and slouch back into our chairs. We must instead speak up, change minds and refocus energies. We must support candidates who seem capable of providing real leadership. And we must reject those who want only to preserve their own personal power.

I do not know what the next few years will bring. But I sense there is a swelling frustration out here. I sense more and more people are growing weary of the charlatan acts of those who claim to lead and inform us. And I hope someone will rise to unite this growing group of honest yet discontented Americans. It is past time for real leadership.


Blogger AubreyJ said...

We’re not weakened, Alan... just divided so badly that no one can talk with reason anymore. I would say that this year will be a major test on our leaders and the American people. We have Iraq at a turning point... battles to fight within the UN over Iran getting the bomb... North Korea... Syria just being Syria... Israel and the Palestinians mess... things heating up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and our elections going on at the same time.
Besides the Two World Wars... when has this country had so much on its plate and a world in such a danger???

7:48 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


I believe that the stark divisions in our nation are a weakness. And I believe we are further weakened by leaders who have failed to heal those divisions.

You are right that we face more obstacles than ever before--that's why it would help if we could find more unity of purpose amongst our people.

8:42 AM  

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