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Nation looks for leadership
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Forsyth County News
As a baby boomer growing up in the 1960s, I frequented the library at Midway Elementary School.

Along the back wall, wonderful books resided. They were filled with life stories of men such as Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Adams and Madison.

Before the days of Watergate, historical revisionism and judging our forefathers by the ethics of our day, I found heroes and inspiration on those shelves, so much so that I devoured every biography in that small library.

That same library witnessed my classmates' fascination with early space flight viewed on black and white televisions.

With window shades drawn and the darkness brightened only by that television screen, we learned to admire men such as Scott Carpenter and John Glenn, who bravely risked all for an elusive dream.

A darkened room and dim television did little to restrain our hope and eagerness for a bright future.

Fast forward to 2009, when many now perceive our government as arrogant, misguided and dangerous, and our nation in decline.

Hope has diminished and heroes and true leaders are tagged as antiquated, irrelevant, unsophisticated and flawed.

Yet I believe there are leaders and heroes among us just waiting for the opportunity to restore our land to promise.

Defining a good leader is elusive, but here are a few items on my list:  

1. A good leader believes our nation was founded for the ages. Our blessings are for the next generation and the next, not for squandering prior to the next election.

2. Personal and political interests are secondary to the good of the nation. Reward is not found in power, polls and multiple terms of office.

3. A belief in a strong defense and supporting our defenders is absolutely necessary.

4. Compassion for those truly in need is as important as our resolve to eliminate waste, wrongs and the threats of our enemies.

5. There should be no confusion as to who our real enemies are.

6. Belief in God, country, family, work, personal responsibility and individual accomplishment is mandatory.

7. Valuing the Constitution, enforcing our criminal laws and protecting our borders are requirements.  

8. Realization that laws restrain liberty and some are better repealed than made is refreshing.

9. Unashamed support of capitalism and private property rights is as vital as the knowledge that socialism abysmally fails wherever applied.

10. Increased taxes and deficits jeopardize our existence. The “rich” cannot pay for everything.

11. Understanding that the lazy and unmotivated deserve neither our sympathy nor our wealth is long overdue.

12. Realization that global competition is far more important than mythical global warming.

13. Leaders should just tell us the truth, painful or not. Leadership is not about being popular.

14. Education and common sense are invaluable.

15. Our children need to be educated, not socially engineered and indoctrinated.

16. Confronting tyranny is a sacred duty.

17. No apologies are necessary for American exceptionalism.

18. Freedom to worship, speak and bear arms should never be compromised.

19. No citizen should experience preference or punishment because of race or status.

20. Leadership understands that we do not owe the world any apologies or explanations. Our explanations were written with the blood of those who once believed in the promise of this great nation. Those sacrifices must never be forgotten.

21. The dignity of our people is far greater than any government. Leaders are servants, not those that must be served.  

When leaders understanding these 21 concepts reappear, we may yet add a few new biographies to those dusty shelves of my old elementary school.

I long for that day.

Phill Bettis is a Cumming resident who writes an occasional column.