Okay, Enough is Enough! by Tom Reynolds
There was probably no one since George Washington who understood and practiced leadership better than Dwight Eisenhower. Forged in war and honed to a fine point in their presidencies, both Washington and Eisenhower understood the multiple dynamics of leadership. Not politics, but leadership. (There is no lack of successful politicians who are not leaders.) One of Ike’s guiding principles was that a leader had to be positive and optimistic.
Susan Eisenhower wrote about the value of optimism in a leader in How Ike Led. She said that Ike, “…understood, perhaps better than anyone else, pessimism’s corrosive impact and the negativity it can produce…”
In Crusade in Europe Ike, himself, wrote, “I firmly determined that my mannerisms and speech in public would always reflect the cheerful certainty of victory-that any pessimism and discouragement I might ever feel would be reserved for my pillow.”
In a commencement speech at Dartmouth on June 14, 1953, Ike spoke concerning problems, “You can’t solve them with long faces, they don’t solve problems-not when they deal with humans. Humans have to have confidence; you’ve got to help give it to them.”
America is going through a difficult time and we need leadership to hold us together and give us confidence that things will get better. One way is to follow Ike’s example and provide an optimistic outlook that things will get better.
Our current President is criticized because he presented a positive outlook early in the China Virus epidemic. The media would seem to have preferred that he be gloom-and-doom and that the world is ending.
Now, he is criticized for saying that we shouldn’t be afraid of the virus and to not let it dominate our lives. Would MSNBC prefer him to say that suicidal thoughts are okay in this difficult time? The media seems to feel that he set a bad example by not dying of Covid,
Can you imagine the current media’s reaction to some of Winston Churchill’s great quotes? When Britain’s defeat seemed inevitable, he said, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”. CNN would have crucified him for being inspirational instead of being transparent and telling the British how really bad the situation was.
What about liberal icon Franklin Roosevelt saying, during the depths of the Great Depression, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. At the same time, he, himself, was wondering if he would be the last president of the United States. Talk about a President who was not transparent!
Have the talking heads on TV ever read history? Or closer to the truth, have their script writers ever read history? If they did, they may have read it but they certainly did not understand it. Leaders must present a positive. optimistic outlook. As Yogi Berra would have said, if leaders say it’s over - it’s over - and you don’t have to wait for Whoopie Goldberg to sing.
In closing, one of Churchill’s lesser known quotes, but appropriate for this time is, “If you’re going through Hell - KEEP GOING”.