Who Is America?
Thursday, 24 March 2016
by Staff, Spaulding Law
Just last night a Super Pac (unaffiliated with any candidate, and therefore uncontrollable) ran personal attack advertisements against the wife of a leading candidate. As if that were not enough, in response, the offended candidate sent a personal threat to a fellow candidate, casting blame and issuing a personal warning of an imminent personal attack on that candidate’s spouse, if the offense were to continue.
The office of President is not for the wrong person or the wrong type of person. While the power of President is somewhat tempered through constitutional checks and balances, still, the office still exists as an influential symbol of something higher than any one person. It is symbolic of a nation united, a nation that holds to values and ethics, and to the philosophy that “how we got there” is just as important, if not more important, than “getting there.” The office of President is an emblem of sorts of the stature of someone Americans admire and respect—of someone people truly believe will guide a nation through tragedy or triumph and someone that people might be willing to follow through flood and fire--someone who understands that this nation’s destiny is to be a shining light on a hill that the world can see and look to for guidance in times of trouble or despair.
The office of President is designed for someone of the stature of Washington, or Lincoln, or Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan. However, tellingly, in many ways the person elected reflects who its people are.
Speaking of people, a great Mormon leader, Gordon B. Hinckley said: “[w]e cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves.” Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared: “[t]he truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. And Thomas Merton said: “[w]e must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.”
The junction of these three statements has application to the campaign for the office of President and for all Americans. America is looking for someone to lead--someone who can lift others, by standing on higher ground. America is looking for someone who is willing to lead with truth and character, and not with malice or derision. And America badly needs a leader who will make choices which will enable all Americans to enjoy the freedom to fulfill the deepest capacities of their real selves. Individual Americans cannot control who fills the office of President, but each has power to control themselves and aspire to be the type of person worthy of the office of President.
Americans moving to higher ground, standing for truth against malice and ignorance, and making sound choices consistent with personal capacities is a key not only to individual success and fulfillment, but to attracting and electing the type of national leaders worthy of those they lead. At the end of the day, the answer to a question about who America is may very well depend on individual Americans, for as the great philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville stated: “America is great because she is good.” It therefore goes without saying that good Americans will attract and elect someone worthy and great to the office of President.
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