As summer begins to get closer, the 2014 election cycle will begin to rev up its engines. This will be time to separate the potential candidates from those who will take the plunge and immerse themselves in the world of rallies, speeches, spin, knocking on doors and making phone calls. I was thrown the gauntlet in my last posting because I called out Fox News and Mark Levin for anointing Dr. Ben Carson for President. Today’s posting is answering that challenge.
The near god-like worship of a political candidate is one of my biggest pet peeves. You can see it in Obama supporters and in Ron Paul supporters as well. But this worship is not limited to these supporters. You also see it when someone tells you, “I will only vote for” or “I will only support the next fill in the blank of a great political leader.” This god-like worship annoys me for two reasons.
The first reason is our politicians are human-not god or even demigods. They are bound to disappoint us. How will you react when they do disappoint us? If your whole existence in life is centered upon supporting a candidate, then you are bound to be disappointed and have a miserable existence.
The second reason is that our media is too personality driven. They are great at anointing and tearing down. Too often the media has defined leadership in terms of personality and charisma only. Personality and charisma is only a small component. Leadership includes smarts, humility, integrity, and respect. True leadership means that people will follow you because you are the sum of all these characteristics. True leadership is molded and developed. Years in the Senate or in the House of Representatives do not define leadership-neither will soaring speeches, orations, or drafting legislation.
Why do I bring this up? I bring these points because unfortunately conservative media and our elected representatives fall into this trap of either anointing a candidate or accepting the anointing, when it is too early in their political career. Consider Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida or Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Both men were elected in the U.S. Senate in the tea party wave of 2010. Both men have strong conservative credentials. Both men have been anointed by conservative talk radio as possible nominees and are rumored to run for the Republican Presidential nomination of 2016. Can someone please explain to me how are these men are leaders after three years in the Senate? Sen. Rubio is involved in the immigration legislation and Sen. Paul held a filibuster. But guess what? Drafting legislation, voting, or holding a filibuster does not make one Presidential material.
History teaches us that greatness come from unexpected places. People expected Churchill to be better than Chamberlain, but few expected him to be a great leader. People hoped that Reagan will be better than Carter, but fewer expected that he would be mentioned in the same breath of Washington or Lincoln. A cardinal from Poland assumes the papacy in 1979, but no one anticipated that people will call him John Paul the Great. Let history determine someone’s greatness. But in the here and now, let us focus on the problems that are before us, rather than wishing or waiting for the next great leader.
So to National Review, Fox News, Rush, Sean, and even Mark, please educate us, inform us. But please do not play the kingmaker role; leave the anointing and the baptisms to the churches.
(Picture: Confirmation Nicolas Poussin)