After such an amazing, emotional night where my family sat together and witnessed an superb 30 minute portrayal of what a President should be and a reminder of how great this nation is and how proud I am to be part of her and having had the honor to wear her uniform and serve, this morning I spoke with a fellow former Marine who used to be my supervisor and is a good friend.
The topic of the video and leadership came up and we were talking about the amazement we had from the perspectives of him being a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) and I a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) respectively, in the US Marine Corps and how it relates to Obama’s very real leadership and capability that gets continually overlooked by many who have never actually been leaders themselves.
Many assume that Military service or a certain rank in said service automatically qualifies one as a leader. Some mistake an experience as leadership, when often times it’s only a marker to clarify one’s actual leadership or lack thereof.
Many mistakenly assume that just because Senator McCain is a veteran, Naval Officer, and former POW that automatically means he is a great leader or the best choice to lead this nation at this moment in time.
As veterans, we surely didn’t touch that with a 10 foot poll as we honor his service, courage, and commitment to our country. But there are many leaders in title and rank in the military, and all of them are not good or best suited for the positions they seek.
For us as a Marine SNCO and NCO respectively, our bar by which we measure is a little different than the average American or even fellow service member. I did mention that we were Marines right?
In the beloved Marine Corps we are taught to learn and live by the acronym or diddy “JJDIDTIEBUCKLE” as a tool to remember the traits of a leader. We also have 11 leadership principles.
Before I outline them I would like to offer a couple of quotes from one of history’s greatest generals and great leaders General MacArthur:
“People grow old only by deserting their ideals, Macarthur had written. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and then only, are you grown old. And then, indeed as the ballad says, you just fade away.”
“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”
He also was quoted as saying there is no greater fighting force than the Marines, but that is another posting.
My point in using the Generals quotes to highlight that the principles espoused by this great warrior and commander are principles we all can understand even if we haven’t had the honor to serve in uniform and fight this nations wars and protect her citizens. These quotes illustrate perfectly the need for hope versus despair, the need for optimism as opposed to pessimism, and the stark reminder that sometimes the enemy within is greater than the external enemy. Obama is the candidate who fulfills the wisdom exposed by our great General.
As warriors ourselves, we understand these things and see these qualities in soon to be President Obama. We are not the only veterans who feel this way. See, leadership is an intangible it’s a quality that many aspire to, some have to learn, and others just have. A leader is one who inspires his followers to service not because he’s in charge and that is the way it is, but because their leader spoke to their inner soul and with transcendent power, command, and quality caused that soul to stir and to move. A leader is like the Prophet Elijah (as) who spoke to the dry bones in the valley and causes them to move.
Obama has surely gotten the dry bones in the valley of America to move. He has inspired millions to get involved and care about America reminiscent of September 12, 2001 in my opinion. White, black, young, old, religious, non-religious, gay, straight, people formal walks of life are walking hand in hand wanting to take our country back and transcend above the fray and chart a new course and turn the page of our darkest moments. When you see 100k, 75k, 200k, people all over the country and all over the world come just to hear him speak and inspire, that in my opinion, is the proof. A leader isn’t one who just speaks to the masses, but like Elijah, can call those masses no matter who or what they are into action.
As I mentioned those Marine Corps measurements earlier “JJDIDTIEBUCKLE” stands for:
· The ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.
· Giving reward and punishment according to merits of the case in question. The ability to administer a system of rewards and punishments impartially and consistently.
· The certainty of proper performance of duty.
· Uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles; includes the qualities of truthfulness and honesty.
· Ability to make decisions promptly and to announce them in clear, forceful manner.
· The ability to deal with others without creating offense.
· Taking action in the absence of orders.
· The mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress and hardship.
· Creating a favorable impression in carriage, appearance and personal conduct at all times.
· Avoidance of providing for one’s own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.
· The mental quality that recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables a man to proceed in the face of it with calmness and firmness.
· Understanding of a science or an art. The range of one’s information, including professional knowledge and an understanding of your Marines.
· The quality of faithfulness to country, the Corps, the unit, to one’s seniors, subordinates and peers.
· The display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duty.
There is no doubt and there should surely be no doubt after the Obama 30-minute ad last night, that Obama displays the Judgment time and time again, he was right on the war, the economy, and the issues.
He understands Justice as he fought for those who had no voice after graduating the college and experienced how unjust our medical system is and what it’s like to have no father and be on welfare having to struggle to achieve the American Dream.
He’s has the Dependability and consistency that we have come to know and through action shown that he will be a steady hand no matter what crisis comes up and not use gimmicks to deal with the issues that face our economy.
He has Integrity no matter how much they criticize him. When you look at his legislative history in either Senate, one of the first things he always worked on was ethics reform and government transparency, how can this quality be displayed otherwise than from a candidate who opens government up to it’s citizens?
Decisiveness? Think about this for a moment; look at how his campaign has been legendary. The experts have criticized every action and step they have taken and yet he continues to win. He went from a relative political nobody to a household name across the globe. His decision to not jump on the political bandwagon of summer gas taxes, campaign suspensions, and negative personal attacks were decisive decisions that still leave career politicians and pundits in awe. Don’t we need a President who does what’s right versus what’s politically convenient at the moment? One who carefully thinks rather than make on the minute important decisions?
I don’t even believe Obama’s Tact is questionable. Every decision he has made has been tactical. I believe he’s 100% believable when he states that he will use a scalpel to balance our budget. I prefer a specialist to a general practioner.
Obama’s Initiative to go forward with ideas that many say we can’t and he replies with Yes We Can, like energy, healthcare, the economy, foreign policy. Issues like prison reform, healthcare for all, tax cuts for 95% of Americans, display a leader full of initiatives that we can’t afford to pass on.
After almost 2 year campaigning and talking to everyday Americans inspiring millions and giving hope to the world, this youthful man, has the Endurance necessary to lead America in our great hour of need.
One who can listen to the naysayer day in and day out, those who call names, spread lies and stir hate, and still say Yes We Can, shows that Obama has the Bearing that has been lacking these past 8 years where people were told your either with us or against us, cursed out on the Senate floor, and countries called evil, outright.
Obama knows what it’s like to have to struggle and these experiences have shaped his policies to make them Unselfish knowing that an economy where the top 2% make the most money but pays the least taxes is just fundamentally wrong. Knowing that the richest nation in the world is behind in education, science, and healthcare for its citizens. It takes an Unselfish President to stand behind these types of fundamentally progressive policies.
To answer the call of the “Fierce urgency of now” with a “weird” name a different look, and only 2 years in the Senate, takes a lot of Courage to take on the special interests, entrenched Washington politics, and political royalty at a time when Americans yearn for change. Senator Obama stepped up to the plate when he could have just waited until 2016, but he fought hard for us, now we have to fight for him.
A great leader has the innate Knowledge to admit that he doesn’t know it all and as such surrounds himself with advisors whom can effectively council him when he has to make important decisions. Compare the respective picks for Vice President…..nuff said.
Who can display more Loyalty than a person who is true to himself or herself, even when it’s not the popular thing to be? A devoted father, husband, and son, Obama’s very life and experiences show how he is and will be loyal to the average American. Obama is the embodiment of the American Dream. He’s done all America has asked of him and in return has reminded Americans that in this country you can still come from humble and different circumstances and aspire to anything you want. What’s more loyal than staying true and embodying our nations principles?
I don’t even have to explain the last one. Obama = Enthusiasm. Let’s just carry that to the polls with our vote.
Everyone has his or her own unique understanding, experience, and perspective about Obama. This morning two former Marines agreed that based on how we were taught and what we know of leadership we clearly see in Obama. There are those who disagree and there are some that won’t get my militaristic explanation.
Either way, I believe that Obama will not only be among America’s greatest Presidents, but also one of her greatest leaders. I close with the Marine Corps 11 leadership principles:
· Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
· Be technically and tactically proficient.
· Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.
· Make sound and timely decisions.
· Set the example.
· Know your Marines and look out for their welfare.
· Keep your Marines informed.
· Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
· Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.
· Train your Marines as a team.
· Employ your command in accordance with its capabilities.
I just wanted to add how inspired I am and how proud I am of America in this moment (not that I haven’t been in the past). With all the negative commentary, bias, and general BS going on, it was just great to sit for 30 minutes and sit back and remember what it was or must be like to want to hear from your President, to want to get involved, and be proud of who leads you. My mother in law was visiting and my mother is currently living with us. We all sat there watching this video together glowing. My 2, 3, and 7 year olds even sat still and watched for the entire thing! My 10 and 11 year old’s were smiling. I can only imagine what everyone in the room actually thought about this, but for myself I felt two distinct emotions as the tears welled in my eyes looking at my family:
To look at all my boys faces I could feel confident in assuring them that this is the greatest country on Earth whom I proudly served that gives them the opportunity to be whatever they want. No longer will black parents have to lie to their kids saying that you too can be President, secretly expecting it to not happen in our lifetime.
The most important and paramount emotion was the sheer patriotism I felt. To see Americans come together from all walks of life to back this one candidate is utterly amazing to see. The barriers and stereotypes in my opinion are breaking especially as it relates to race. In the context of US history for it to only be 40 years since Dr. King was assasinated all Americans should be proud at how far we have come.
If I continued to edit this post for a week I could never truly articulate my feelings, but know that to see the faces of my family and the faces of the supporters of Obama all with the sense of hope, purpose, and pride reminds me of the oath I took to defend this nation and the pride that comes with that. It makes you want to stand up a little straighter and remember as I was taught growing up, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
I joke with friends that even if Obama somehow looses, on November 5th from my new residence in Canada, I will proudly admit that the journey was worth it and America is just that much better because of the travel.
May God bless America,