We need the leadership of one who speaks truth to power

June 29, 2020

Our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  These words are considered the most consequential and potent words in American history.  These words represent the moral standard which the patriotic American must adopt in order to sustain and maintain a society of justice, equality and protection for all.

We are reminded in the Preamble to the Constitution that “We the People...  in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and receive the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” As citizens we are obliged to uphold these principles.

The great visionary patriot Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  said, “I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of the creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident...” He also reminded us that “now is the time to make the real promise of democracy.”  “We the People” have the right and responsibility to determine the path of greatness for our country, to demand justice and equality, and to enhance and protect the values inherent in our Constitution.  Have our nation and we its citizens met our responsibility to uphold these promises?

Today we are faced with two among many crises including a health pandemic that has already taken 115,000 lives in less than three months. The other is a leadership crisis which threatens the survival of our nation of 350 million people.

If we are living up to the promises and values that were meant to inform our responsibility as citizens:

How do we explain or justify our current failures in social justice as evidenced in chronic marginalization, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, a mass incarceration rate defined by its racial disparities (the second largest rate in the world), gun violence, the ongoing lynching of unarmed black boys and men, the separate and unequal education system being formalized under the pseudonym of charter schools?

How do we explain the destructive divisiveness that permeates our communities and governmental entities?

How do we account for the increase in anti-Semitism and racism, the increase in hatred and violence emboldened by the denial of its presence by those elected to sustain unity?

Can we turn a blind eye to the elimination of governmental regulations that protected our economy, the environment, health and education systems, and criminal justice systems?

Who is responsible for sustaining America’s pledge to social justice and equality? We are the guardians of our nation.  Only we can reverse the current trajectory from our failures toward our intended greatness. “We the People” can sustain America’s promises, values, integrity, and soul by thoughtful discernment of good leadership before casting our votes. 

Do we continue to support a leader who encourages divisiveness, disdain and distrust of others through misinformation, misguided messaging and outright lies?  Do we continue to support leaders who encourage irresponsible citizen behavior, civic disobedience and non-allegiance to the U.S. Constitution?  Do we want to support a leader whose rhetoric is based on ambitious self-interest, not on the welfare and constitutional promises to millions of citizens ?

We need the leadership of one who speaks truth to power.  For our republic to survive we must have a leader who commits to upholding the values and promises written in our Declaration of Independence and our U.S Constitution.  We must have a leader who is aware of his or her responsibility to all citizens and residents in America. 

We must have a leader who speaks with one voice to all of us and works to bring unity by advocating mutual respect and equality. We must have a leader with a sense of fairness.  We must have a leader whose message is one of constitutional compliance and respect.  We must have a leader who recognizes that the greatness of America is within the hearts and souls of its citizens, whose collective efforts and sense of interdependence and respect for each other will maintain America’s greatness and assure equal opportunities for all.

We must have a leader who truly understands the statement that “united we stand, divided we fall,” and who is not devoted to the destructive part of this equation.  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “We must be especially aware of those selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle to feather their own nests.”

Ronald Reagan said, “We must condemn those who seek to divide us.”

We have been conditioned to view cultural and social differences with contempt and repugnance. We have been persuaded to hold others hostage in the ongoing cycles of poverty, unemployment, and incarceration.   We have been taught to fear, disrespect and hate through decades of misinformation. Many presidential candidates have encouraged fear of “contrived” enemies such as immigrants, black men, other political parties, in order to win support. We have assumed an overwhelming sense of importance and righteousness when judging the worth of others. Privilege and entitlement can obstruct one’s clarity of vision regarding our common potential.

If we continue the rhetoric of divisiveness which has widened the boundaries of trust, fear and hate, which in turn continues our long legacy of inequality and injustice, then we are guaranteed the demise of our greatness as a nation.

“We the People” must renew our civic vows to be good and moral guardians of our republic. We are responsible for upholding the promises of the U.S. Constitution and for regaining the global respect that once informed our place as the leading nation in the free world. As responsible citizens, we are mandated to vote according to facts rather than party affiliation. 

Indeed, the destiny of our nation, including the laws and values that bind us, are dependent on our seriously deliberated vote.

Charlotte King is a member of Women’s March Sussex, Delaware
  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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