America needs a "President for all Seasons" or at least a leader for all seasons. Could any of us have expected an international health crisis when we voted for Donald Trump four years ago?
If we, in our worst nightmares, had anticipated a situation such as we are in today, would we have desired Donald Trump over any or all of the other potential leaders, Democrat or Republican?
My view of the world at 80 years of age is much different than my two sons' views. They grew up in a very different world than my early years and our family's relocation from town to a small farm on Sugar Creek. As a result, my exposure to work was in a farm household that remembered the Depression and valued economic sacrifice and hard work.
Four years ago Donald Trump appeared to be an innovator who could bring some leadership to a government that looked very dysfunctional to me personally and seemed to be in a perpetual political feud. Could we have asked ourselves at that time what should our "man for all seasons" look like, sound like and what style of leadership would he or she display in a crisis such as we now face?
Until we see a person under the pressure of an event like we now experience it is difficult to know for sure. Wouldn't it be nice if anyone of us had an answer to the leadership qualities that our nation and the world needs now? Or is it possible, or more likely, no single individual presents the image we need to bring unity to a world in crisis? America has the opportunity to once again be seen (and acknowledged) as the leader of humanity and a stable economy. But the world will look to our national leader with the spot light on their every move and every verbal quote. They must put America, not themselves, first.
We as a nation face a once in a lifetime health crisis. Because we are known for our spending on prescription health care costs, the world probably expects us to be the leader in research and anticipation of preparedness before a problem occurs. Even American pharmaceutical companies could not anticipate a problem in a Chinese city would dominate conversation and life style around the world as we see today.
What we seem to be missing in our current president is an understanding of his role as America's leader "for all seasons." His attempt to be "in front of everything" including our health care needs seems to lead to more division than a solution to the situation. Apparently President Trump desires a loyal staff at a time when we need input from specialists in a variety of fields -- health care, economics, mass crowd control, negotiations with America's manufacturing base, etc. And, that input must be recognized as shared knowledge, respected and considered for its need and not controlled by a single-minded system whose focus is on re-election rather than problem solving.
This will pass.
A hundred years ago this month my grandfather died from a flu pandemic. It was not easy on the family to lose the head of the household before he was 40, but the family endured and there will be other world-wide health situations to face in the future. Learning from this current situation should be among our nation's priorities.
We will be faced with a choice in the Fall when we are asked to make a choice about our current president's success. We may have a choice about replacing him with a new face and a person who seems to listen to experts. Someone who doesn't try to lead with daily Tweets and embarrass himself in press briefings. We must judge our current evaluation of the presidency and cooperation from Congress against what we expected.
Can a former television personality lead our national legislators to solve our health care problems and the subsequent economic problems while spending his time keeping the spotlight on himself? Trying to read a press release covering technical terms that was obviously written by someone else is not my idea of leadership. Turning that responsibility for explaining a medical issue over to an expert who doesn't stumble over the words makes more sense to me. It demonstrates a quality of leadership and organizational understanding that shows a person knows how and when to utilize the knowledge of those that make up his or her team. Giving people the authority to do their job can save a lot of confusion and shows respect for those you have chosen to fill a need you are acknowledging must be done.
The president does not do himself any favors (in my eyes) when he tries to be a one-man show in a press conference. It is one thing to acknowledge another's contribution for something but it must sound sincere for the public to believe it. The ability to select and organize a group of talented persons into a well functioning team is one of the highest priorities of a leader.
If our president can't succeed in doing that, he will have a serious problem in November. Joe Biden may not be the best choice of the Democratic Party but he knows not to try to bluff his way when he isn't prepared to speak.
Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.Editorial on 04/01/2020