Dysfunction is no longer an adequate descriptor of Washington leadership these days. We’re all aware of the key players in this madness. The media recites them in a 24/7 loop of chaotic images and infotainment.
Nonetheless, the strong and the good eventually overcame the darker forces in our nation’s past. Before we continue our march toward the abyss of cynicism, let’s remember the many who rose above the formidable obstacles of the past.
George Washington, Revolutionary War leader and first US president is an obvious choice of someone who looked to the best interests of the country instead of his own desires.
Lincoln, of course. How many of today’s leaders would demonstrate the kind of moral leadership in the face of near overwhelming opposition to the 13th Amendment than our 16th president?
After escaping slavery, Harriet Tubman returned to the South and rescued 70 enslaved people.
While Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed Booker T. Washington’s family, he faced and overcame a mountain of obstacles to his education.
Martin Luther King, Jr., moved a mountain of dissent in service to Civil Rights.
American virologist Jonas Salk successfully developed a vaccination for polio then declined to patent it.
Civil War nurse Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, becoming the first Black player in baseball.
Eleanor Roosevelt advocated for the rights of working women.
Civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall successfully argued before the Supreme Court against separate but equal in Brown v. The Board of Education. He was then appointed to the high court by Lyndon Johnson.
And a short list of the others who contributed mightily to the strength and good of our country:
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, as well as all the Framers of the Constitution, the Wright brothers, Helen Keller, Jesse Owens, Nikola Tesla, Thomas A. Edison, Alexander G. Bell, Susan B. Anthony, John Muir, the Tuskegee Airmen, Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk, John Steinbeck, Norman Rockwell, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward R. Murrow, Sandra Day O’Connor, Alexander Hamilton, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and . . .
. . . the hundreds of thousands who marched for Gay Rights. . .
. . . and the millions who fought and died in wars both foreign and domestic.
In its 247-year-old history, this country has faced and overcome all obstacles including a costly Civil War. And we can do so again if we remember all that is strong and good in America.