Leadership, Literature, and Happy Endings

This year, in this election, there is a lot at stake. It could be the end to a great story of an uphill battle, where hopes were dashed, and best efforts proven useless. In 2000, Al Gore should have had an easy win. I personally believe that his downfall happened during his first debate with George W. Bush, when he appeared wearing waaaay too much blush. It was the end of him. Even though he technically won the election, it was close enough for Bush to steal the title because Republicans know how to fight dirty.

And then there was Kerry 4 years ago. Now Kerry was not a good candidate. And frankly, I have no idea how he ended up with the Democrat’s nod, but he was all we had. And it was his election to lose. So lose he did. Many people were so upset over that loss, that one man in the tri-state area even took his own life in despair. Many started thinking about moving to a foreign country. But this morning, I’m glad Kerry lost. If he hadn’t, Barack Obama wouldn’t be where he is.

Obama isn’t just the agent for change in this election. He’s the agent for change in the world, and in the way that society sees a race of people who have been looked askance at for a very long time. He is proof positive that the United States is a country of diverse people, who want to roll up their sleeves and help build this country from the ground up. I was so happy to hear him say last night that he wanted to get young people interested in helping in their communities. He wanted to expand the Peace Corps. Now more than ever, when corporations are being irresponsible and people are falling by the wayside, we need leadership that inspires everyone to lead where they can.

My recent book for Chelsea House, Being a Leader and Making Decisions is all about different kinds of leadership and how the best leaders, and the new leaders, are ones who are servants first. The idea of servant leadership is not new, but it’s one that we need to move us forward, especially with the kind of global challenges that face us: economic, social, climate, moral. And here is a leader, who not only inspires, but really wants to help people to become the kind of leader that he had a chance to become. That alone makes me want to vote for him. The realizaton that it’s not just about self is one that we all need to embrace if we are to improve the world that we live in.

As a piece of literature, this story exceeds expectations. The debacle in 2000, followed by failed attempts in the last 8 years to restore some kind of dignity and honesty to Americans and the office of the President, coupled with the disconnect between liberals and conservatives, one that in other less stable countries could be enough to cause a civil war, is the stuff that makes a page-turner. Sadly, it is one I am not qualified to write. I’m sure there are many out there who can do it so much better than I. And now comes the conclusion to the story. In 27 days, the American people will write the conclusion as the world waits to turn the page.

And this time, I’m feeling good about a happy ending.