Saturday, November 19, 2011


President John F. Kennedy’s message of giving back to society instilled a positive cultural message of altruism and self-sacrifice

President Barack Obama's divisive class warfare message of taking from society has a negative influence on American culture exemplified by the onset of the anti-American terrorist-like tactics of the Occupy Wall Street movement

In my previous article entitled The GOP Prerogative: The Idealist or The Realist I delineated two different approaches to leadership represented within the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. The idealists, represented by Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann and Santorum, are guided by venerating America’s First Principles inscribed in the Declaration of Independence. The realists, comprised of Romney, Perry, Paul and Huntsman, would take a more pragmatic approach to leadership. Each approach would manifest differently in their governance and policymaking.

But presidential leadership, governance and policymaking are not the only areas that would be impacted. Depending on whether America chooses an idealist or a realist for the White House, their respective presidencies would leave different moral and cultural impressions on American society for generations to come and America’s cultural landscape will be shaped around these different perspectives.

Some may debate the contention that a President’s leadership has a major influence on American cultural attitudes, but we need look no further than how the dissimilar leadership styles of two democratic Presidents inspired cultural attitudes and outcomes reflective of their messages. President Kennedy’s famous mantra Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” kindled young people to be excited about serving their country in public office and volunteering time to humanitarian efforts such as the Peace Corps. President Kennedy fostered a cultural attitude of altruism and self-sacrifice.

If Kennedy’s message was to give back to society, President Obama’s message is to take from society. Kennedy encouraging selflessness is in stark contrast to Obama enabling selfishness. President Obama’s reckless, divisive class warfare rhetoric pinning American against American incited a dangerous and disturbing culture of ‘takers’ manifested by the anti-American Occupy Wall Street movement. Sanctioned by President Obama, this movement even goes so far as to bifurcate Americans into '1%' and '99%’ categories.

American Presidents set an example for society and cast a long shadow on America’s cultural attitudes. Inasmuch as each GOP candidate would undertake a shared mission to take America on the path to exceptionalism, the philosophies that inspires each of them will cause differing cultural impressions.

An idealist President will have strong convictions that America has a providential purpose to present itself as an unyieldingly virtuous society and resound order, freedom and justice as America's cause. This would arouse Americans to reflect on how virtues should be inhabited within their local communities, reflected in their workplace, instilled in school and the family unit.

A realist President would illustrate how compromise and coalition building resolves conflicts and brings results. They would influence Americans to take practical approaches to achieving results, even if at times moral concessions must be undertaken in the process.

The idealist would exemplify to the American people that decisions should be driven by uncompromising moral imperatives, and the realist would encourage Americans to acknowledge that, in some instances, noble ends justify less than desirable means. Leadership differences aside, a President from either GOP camp has a shared mission to lead America out from under the rubble of ruinous policies, dismal economic conditions and the divisiveness wreaked on America under the Obama regime.

There will be a common cause effort by either an idealist or realist GOP President to take immediate action to right America’s course. The long view is the leadership style that accomplishes that task will leave a lasting impression on American society.

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