Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Patriots, Politics, and Powerful People

The Benghazi fiasco got me to thinking. And I began a mental exercise. I’m not happy with the results. Try it and see how you do. In fact, do this exercise with friends. Warning, it could get loud.

Make a list of the greatest names that come to mind. Remember that power comes not only with position, but also by influence – I’ll help you. Jesus Christ, Apostle Paul, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, Henry Ford, General McArthur, Mother Theresa, General Patton, George Washington, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, your 1st grade teacher, Albert Einstein, John Kennedy, Sally Ride. Keep going…it’s a thought provoking exercise. Memories that float to the surface include characteristics of each person and the environment in which you first learned about them.

Now make a list of endearing attributes associated with your list – passionate, determined, sacrificial, forgiving, trustworthy, creative, intelligent, wise, independent, daring, brave, rebel, reverent probably come to mind.

Now list the names of today’s leaders that can be associated with the attributes of your extraordinary persons list. Having a hard time with the second list of names? Therein lies today’s problem.

I’m confused by the fact that there’s more opportunity to hold people accountable today than ever before. There’s no shortage of information. We have an abundance of personal detail about each other and particularly public servants.

People do good for one of two reasons. Exceptional people naturally do good. Let’s call them patriots. Others do good because they’re afraid of getting caught and being held accountable. Let’s call them great achievers. Patriots live among us – Billy Graham comes to mind.

Great achievers are few.  Why? Because as a society we no longer hold people accountable.

It’s a good exercise – try it.

I have some thoughts on the reason for this degradation in standards, but that’s for another blog.

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