I’d ask that you factor a few thoughts into your decision-making process when you choose our President in November. We often become so immersed in personalities that we lose sight of the mission and prime directive of our leader: to rally the energy and commitment of our entire nation to address the issues that affect our lives and our future. No single person has all the answers. No single person can solve all the problems by himself. We are a national team and our President is our coach, if you’ll indulge a sporting metaphor.
Our President must make the decision on play calls and the game plan but we the citizens execute them. When President Kennedy first spoke of America’s intention to go to the moon, he wasn’t a rocket scientist. He had no formulas for fuel or rocket telemetry. But he had the personality, the audacity, the vision to challenge us to achieve a great endeavor. And within eight years, on July 20th, 1969 that intention became a reality. It was achieved because of America’s greatness – in technology, organization, courage and optimism.
Kennedy didn’t design the means to reach the moon, yet he inspired America to make that historic leap into space. That is the hallmark of leadership, the ability to rally disparate elements into a cohesive whole, a team, pulling in unison. I know little of inside politics but I do have some personal knowledge of the value of leadership. The ability to win the trust and confidence of men in battle, asking them to commit their very lives to my decisions and orders was a weighty responsibility. It was not taken lightly and it resonates for a lifetime, however long that life may be. My job seldom involved the taking of life; rather it engaged the calculus of how best to defeat the enemy, yet sustain minimal losses. So I measure my value in combat not by personal deeds but by my example, leadership and proficiency in asking and getting the very best from my soldiers.
That is the task at hand. Which candidate can most successfully challenge and inspire Americans to put aside their differences and pull together? Our present problems seem at times insurmountable, daunting without question.
Success will require uncommon unity of purpose. But if, like me, somewhere within you still exists a spark of that legendary American CAN DO pride, if you’re old enough to remember when we were respected and celebrated as the grandest political experiment in the history of man…then perhaps you’re ready to hitch up your pants and huddle up for the next play. Then break the huddle to your position and run the next play…and the one after that…and keep executing and getting up and pressing forward until the final whistle blows.
That’s how we roll, America. That’s why we are America. Let’s play together and let’s play to win!
28 August 2008
On this day, the first African-American, Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination to be President of the United States of America.