"Great leaders don't blame the tools they are given. They work to sharpen them."
When i think of the ideal leader, i think of three qualities that should be visible to the common person.
3. Life Honoring
Visible actions of these 3 characteristics will encourage me to trust and support a leader. In a field that is lined with honorable men and women who ambitiously and selflessly are putting themselves forward to be the next President of the United States, there is only one who i believe has these qualities and has shown them at every turn.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Bobby Jindal started his political career as the assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush's administration. In order to pursue further political ambitious to help people, he ran for the United States Congress. Prior to his second term finished, he returned to the state of Louisiana and ran for governor. He handily won in 2007 and 2011. But it is not his ability to win elections or his knowledge of healthcare systems that impressed me. It was this ability to lead in the chaos.
In my book, "'Heroes of Faith", i have a chapter devoted to the governor. In this chapter i highlight the governor’s work on the BP oil spill and the hurricanes that plagued his coats line. As a Congressman, Jindal witnessed the destruction of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. As Governor, he witnessed Ike, Gustav and Isaac. In all circumstances, he was instrumental in saving lives. As governor he issued mass evacuation orders in advance, helping people that lived near the shoreline get to higher ground and safety. His life honoring values rang true and bold in the face of Mother Nature. He was key in the moving of the largest medical evacuation, saving over 10,000 lives.
Governor Jindal has also shown great confidence.in his efforts to clean up the BP oil spill. While BP and the federal government lacked the proper leadership and commonsense to get the job done, take responsibility and clean up the shore lines, Jindal was confident in his ability to cut red tape and be innovative in his approach.
Governor Jindal is a man of great faith. Coming from a family of Indian heritage, he struggled with his conversion to Christianity out of respect of his family. In his tenure as governor, he has held many Days of Prayer, Prayer breakfasts and made many statements, humbly affirming that our nation needs to seek God.
This is a man that has led from within. He has listened to locals on issues that matter to them, he has ignored and fought Washington red tape and bureaucracy, and he has invoked God for guidance. He never complained about the situations he had to deal with, he sharpened his information and utilized those around him to get the best results.
Jindal 2016 is about more than one man fulfilling a political dream. It is about One Nation uniting for the good of the people to restore all that so many have died fighting for.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."
This past week i had the opportunity to go to the Holocaust museum in Skoki, IL with a friend. I had never really known too much about this tragic period of time that Jews were put through by the Germans. As we walked through the maze looking at the photos on the wall, watching video clips and reading artifacts that were collected throughout time, it occurred to me how often this type discrimination happens in our American culture as well. During the Civil War, newspapers would print cartoons of blacks with big lips, during the Depression the newspapers attempting to be sympathetic, printed cartoons of Jews with big noses. Even today contests today are held to draw pictures of Muslims in cartoon fashion. This is all in an attempt to desensitize people from the horror that is happening behind the pencil sketch.
At one point during the walk we stopped by a plaque where they were talking about Americans response to the Holocaust and how the American churches were silent to the murders going on abroad. Whether this was because the government was shielding the American people from the truth, or news media outlets lacked capability to directly relay the information, or just Americans having too much already to worry about in there personal lives- we won't know. But it struck me as similar to what is happening today.
We seem to have a continuous religious liberty debate going on in this country. One that centers on the rights of individuals to marry who they feel they are entitled to and then live in society; regardless of gender. While i believe there are valid arguments on both sides of this aisle on this argument, we as Christians have missed a great opportunity. While we were busy defending a little pizzeria in Indiana from people who wanted to simply participate in free market commerce we missed the greater tragedy. While we demanded separate rights for humans in the homeland, we were so obsessed with our bias that we missed the mass murdering of gay men and women abroad by ISIS.
And while the church sat silently behind their 501c3 non profit status, politics as usual did an injustice to the murder of many by creating red tape, useless laws filled with compromise and court cases that showed Christians in a less than flattering light.
So just as they had done during the Civil War, the Great Depression, and now the Religious Liberty debate, the church continues to be ignorant of the love they can show others by obtaining knowledge. And so it is their absence of noise, the silence, which everyone hears.
At the end of the museum was a posting on a wall . It stated:
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."- Edmund Burke
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."
Recently i had the pleasure of performing as Theodore Laurence the III in the Haylofter's production of Little Women. This well known classic piece of literature now turned musical has engaged audiences on the stage since its debut in 2005. Through the tragedy of Civil War era life mixed with the humor of raising 4 very independent women; audiences are given a front row seat to the development of daughters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. As the stage version unfolds, audiences were humored by grumpy Mr. Lawrence and his quirky grandson, Laurie; regal Aunt March, solitary Professor Bhaer, and resilient Mr.Brooke.
Through the production of this show I was renewed by three truths.
1. It's all about family. Marmee (Mrs. March) selflessly sacrifices daily to care for her girls. Through the ups and downs of sisterhood, childhood crushes, youthful independence which all eventually turned into adult realities for 3 of the sisters, Marmee shows us what it is like to be a single parent in a less advanced time. Despite the bickering over hand me downs, feeling less than pretty, and falling in love, Marmee brings it back to respect for each other, for God, and for self. Even when her own daughter passes away of Scarlet Fever, Marmee laments in the musical:
2. We could all be more like Beth. Beth, the 3rd eldest of the girls, journeys on the path one should never have to endure. Yet she embraces her fate, acknowledging her fear of leaving behind those whom she loves. Bravely pronouncing that she never planned her life out, she sings a final adieu to her sister.
3. True love is never truly how we imagined it to be, but you make it work. We see four very different imaginings of true love.
Louisa May Alcott provided that many generations would read this magnificent story. Jason Howland, composer of Little Women, provided that this generation would sing it.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."