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December 2012
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Blessings of Leadership

Right now is a weird time for me, and maybe for you, as well. But as I sit here, thinking about this column, I realize that I am in some kind of a convergence of seasons. It is just three days prior to our national elections – a “season” that has been going on for the longest time. The time for Halloween has passed, and Thanksgiving is almost upon us, officially launching the onset of the holiday shopping season. Along with them, the holidays that are centered on our faith are just around the corner.

The elections leave me both hopeful and troubled. I’m not ambivalent about my choices for those seeking political office, so I know how I hope things will turn out. But I realize that things might not all go the way I would like, and my concern is how that all affects the country.

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Abraham Lincoln

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.

Everywhere you look, leadership is clearly on display. I have watched in amazement the resilience and resourcefulness of those whose neighborhoods have been damaged by Super Storm Sandy. People are grateful for help, no matter the direction from which it comes. Many of those who expected the federal government to ride in like the cavalry and save the day have been very disappointed; simultaneously, they have been overwhelmed by the generosity and efforts of their neighbors – even strangers – who have pitched in.

I mentioned the convergence of seasons, simultaneously living through a bunch of them that are seemingly unrelated. Yet, there still is actually a common thread: the American Experience. These seasons come from our common traditions.

About half the country will be disappointed in the elections, the other half will be ecstatic.

But here’s the thing about our country: We may have a transition of power from one administration to another, or the present administration may remain there. Either way, love it or hate it, we have all agreed to go through this as Americans, we will stand by the process, and the whole thing will happen without bloodshed.
This is an astonishing thing, seldomly seen anywhere else in our world. Jefferson was so right when he spoke of these “precious blessings.”

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Thomas Jefferson

My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!

So many countries around the world can’t even imagine such a thing. To advocate for freedom is often a death sentence. Again, the precious things we sometimes take for granted, that we ignore by not caring enough to cast an informed vote, would astonish the majority of people in the world who can’t come to terms with the notion of being free to open a business, speak what’s on your mind, worship as you choose, have the right to own property – and to defend it. Doubt me? Talk to someone who has emigrated here from a country run by a dictator. Such people are blessings to us, and demonstrate the continuing opportunities here, right at our feet.

And through all of this long, political season, on which billions of dollars have been spent, Americans still have enough confidence to enjoy the silliness of Halloween, the somber and joyous gratitude of Thanksgiving, the real reverence of the holidays of their faith, of the reverie and promise of New Year’s Eve and Day.

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Benjamin Franklin

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.

Our country has been blessed, even before its beginning as a nation, because of the leadership and vision of its founders. When the country was being built, its leaders adopted the principles that established its plumb lines and boundaries. Moral, ethical and religious values were part of its fabric. In other countries, the reality was “the king is law,” but our leaders turned that on its head and demanded that “the law is king.” Real leadership!

Don’t lie awake at night, worried about what may or may not happen. Dig in. Pitch in. Go “all in” for 2013 and for your family. There is an old saying that there are three types of people: those who watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder, “What happened?”

Come Nov. 7, MCAA still will be here, with a plan in place to move our industry forward next year. We are waiting for your involvement and leadership, because a breakout year in 2013 won’t happen without you.



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Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 10:54