Some years ago, after already having met some heavyweight political leaders in the U.S., I had a private audience with Willy Brandt, then Chancellor of West Germany. Instantly I recognized his leadership attributes. And I was intensely aware how most American political leaders paled by comparison.
Now, many years later, I review the field of top political leaders in the U.S. today. What a depressing review it is. Over and over through the years, as I saw presidential candidates come and go here, I always thought to myself, "Is this the best we can do?"
I'm sorry, but I am unimpressed with the intellect and leadership qualities of the likes of Lyndon Johnson, George McGovern, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and George W. Bush. Is this the best we can do?
A depressing exercise is to look at the list of probable candidates for the next Republican nominee to run for the office of President of the United States: Rick Santorum, John Thume, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour, and even two possibilities who have said they will not run, Rick Perry and Jeb Bush.
Not only does the above list not have any person who would seem to make a strong leader of the country, they are tied down in what they are "permitted" to believe. Today's Republican Party would not allow any likely candidate to openly support evolution or climate change. Imagine how that keeps anyone with intellect, to say nothing of personal honesty, to give up any chance of running as a Republican candidate for president. While not believing it necessary to believe in evolution or climate change, one must admit that huge numbers of people throughout the world do believe in it, including especially in the U.S. To be forced NOT support it is outright intimidation, dishonesty, and intellectually empty. This is the stuff of Third World nations. No western European nation would accept that sort of sabotage of ideas.
This is indicative of where we are in the U.S. as a nation, as a people, as a culture. No respected, reputable scientist would allow for absolute adherence to this sort of anti-intellectualism. Evolution and climate change are in concert with the overwhelming number of reputable scientists. To INSIST on holding or quieting our leaders is self-defeating. I would accept a leader who seriously and honestly questioned evolution or climate change, but I cannot support a candidate who refuses to allow other opinions. This is about leadership, not about religion. It is what democracy should be all about. Otherwise it is demagoguery.