While reading a book about Winston Churchill framed in his own words, I was struck by the vast difference between his leadership and our contemporary crop of leaders here in America. Where are the statesmen among us?
When President John F. Kennedy made Churchill an honorary American citizen in April, 1963, Kennedy said of him, “In the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone -- and most men save Englishmen despaired of England’s life -- he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen.”
Contrast that with today’s Twitter style of superficial, sound-bite leadership, where even the President of the United States, rather than mobilizing the English language and sending it into battle, tweets out meaningless slogans like “Love is love” (this in defense of same-sex “marriage”), thereby lowering himself to the level of the masses that he is supposed to lead and call higher.
Speaking of Churchill, the great British historian Martin Gilbert noted that, “Throughout his six decades in the public eye and in public life, he understood and wielded the power of words. . . . Churchill used words for different purposes: to argue for moral and political causes, to advocate courses of action in the social, national and international spheres, and to tell the story of his own life and that of Britain and its place in the world.”
Who among our current national leaders – in particular in the political sphere – is in the same universe as Churchill? Who among them is utilizing the power of words to inspire the populace, to build a vision of the future by telling the story of the past, to raise a standard of moral excellence? Can you name one?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.