Harking Back to Moral Leadership
In the aftermath of the Charlottesville tragedies (pl.) and of Trump’s cowardly attempts to not ruffle his “alt-right” base’s feathers, many comparisons have been made of Trump’s faintheartedness to the words, moral leadership and clarity of past presidents.
One of the most oft-quoted, pertinent statements on moral leadership I have seen in the past few days is the one President John F. Kennedy made in Bonn, Germany, on June 24, 1963.
Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
Another statement that struck me is one, not by a president, but by a respected, American journalist and political commentator, E. J. Dionne Jr., referring to Trump’s refusal to clearly identify the bigots and domestic terrorist in Charlottesville:
A president who cannot bring himself to say this immediately and unequivocally squanders any claim to moral leadership.
But it is not only former presidents who are being quoted or journalists who are speaking out about the current president’s moral weakness.
“Regular” Americans, by the tens of thousands, are expressing their outrage at and disappointment with this morally-lacking president.
While one does not have to be a poet to express such feelings well, it always looks and sounds better in poetry form.
Here is my good friend and patriot doing what he does so well, speaking from the heart and from decades of brave and devoted service to his country, recalling the words, character and courage of a great President.
“Ask not what your country can do for you
Ask what you can do for your country”
JFK’s wise and inspiring words still in our memories glisten
But it’s sad; it’s pathetic that Donald J. didn’t listen
As the least prepared and most ineffective President we ever did see
His sole focus is me, me, and me
No business interests did he flee: we’re still waiting for his tax returns to see
Fortunately, his shady business past: is being investigated at last
While he blusters, backstabs and insults: he has produced no promised results
His ever-changing administration is lame: and it’s others he does blame
Now his inner circle: “in them he trusts”: is his family that he holds tight
And a strange sloppy figure: Steve Bannon of the Alt-Right
So, when the KKK, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists our values debase
Trump doesn’t immediately chastise them: they are part of his “base”
“I’d like to punch him in the face”: he jeered at a campaign event
An inflammatory dialogue of hate and violence is the message he sent
His staff has to re-write his comments: to “explain what he meant”
But the thinking public can easily see: just other examples of his hypocrisy
Trump’s “fire and fury” comment reflect his knee-jerk bullying ways
Not the calm and calculated approach by JFK: in the Cuban Crisis days
A blockade he set up: but it was negotiations he was about
While resisting “pull the trigger” advice: he compromised to make things nice
JFK, a war hero and experienced Senator of note: played just the right note
He knew how to close a deal: not like Trump who just blusters and squeals
His unannounced agreement to meet Kremlin’s desired “deal closer”
Moving U.S. missiles from Turkey was gutsy and quickly the crisis was over
He was articulate and cerebral: a book reader and writer: no TV nor Twitter for he
On civil rights, he took a courageous stand: no fawning to extremist of the land
Born to wealth: it was service to his country: not riches for himself
No President’s pay did he take: but unlike Trump: no publicity stunt did he make
Now I make the above comparisons: because I’m a concerned American
We all need to demand a return to normalcy: after all we are a Democracy
I hope that Trump’s shady dealings will be exposed in the current investigations
If not, then it’s our duty to hold him to account: and in 2020 to vote him out
Lead photo, credit John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum