My reading of history suggests what can heal social sickness. First, a great leader who “calls upon our better angels” can bring us together. Churchill rallied his nation to resist and defeat Nazism. Roosevelt elicited the endurance that overcame despair. Lincoln healed a nation torn apart by war, insisting on “malice toward none and charity for all.” I do not believe one can overstate the impact the leader of a nation can have for good or for bad. I earnestly pray that our president can rise to the challenge.
Who we choose to lead us shapes our society. I believe that it is our national character that made America the greatest nation on earth, that the public personal character of leaders like Washington, Lincoln, Reagan and Truman had more influence on us than even the policies they promoted. Today when I vote, I pay as much attention to the character of the candidate as I do to their policies. If we choose leaders who inflame resentment and division, our nation will be angry and divided. We have a choice to make: Would we rather have our “side” win to punish the “other side” or would we rather have our nation united?