Last Thursday, I ran into a famous actor who had been out of circulation for a while. Having met him a few years ago, I reintroduced myself and asked him how he was doing. As we caught up a little, I realized that he had just weathered the storm of his life. Like myself, he had a bout with potentially deadly cancer. His problem was prostate cancer. Despite the traumatic experience, he grinned from ear to ear! He had that I’ve-just-dodged-a-bullet look on his face.
We had a delightful time sharing survivor stories, but what impressed me the most in the conversation was the way he chose his physician. His celebrity status brought him before some of the most outstanding doctors in the world. Each one of these doctors had excellent credentials and were imminently qualified to perform the delicate surgery which could have left this man incontinent, impotent, or irreparably scarred in other ways. When the star’s process came down to two finalists, he decided to choose the doctor who exuded the most joy and confidence.
At first, I thought he was joking; but he was deadly serious. I remembered that my own surgeon had a certain bravado and a devil-may-care attitude, yet he was reputed to the best in the world at this kind of surgery.
As I reflected on this conversation, I could not help but draw an analogy to the political leadership dilemma our nation faces. We have to select a president, a host of senators, and an army of congressmen and women. Conservatives continue to be shaken by scandals, vilification, and a growing sense of hopelessness in the face of the political realities of the legislative branch of government.
Unfortunately, many conservatives have earned their stripes by being critical and negative. Many of our most popular talk show hosts and authors are caustic and combative. Thankfully, liberals have not identified a “good news” candidate of change. Liberals are doing a good job at expressing the need to change and pointing out why George W. Bush is not the right man to lead the nation into the future (but last time I checked Bush is not running any way).
As we heard the controversy about Iraq last week, no one from either party seemed to stand up and say, “I know the way---follow me!” A credible plan and a little bit of bravado accompanied by a swagger might have turned the heads of the nation. I was delighted with Mike Huckabee’s widely repeated comment, "I'm a conservative but I'm not mad at anybody about it."
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.