The failure of Florida Governor Jeb Bush to exercise his executive authority to intervene on behalf of Terri Schiavo is just the latest example of how America's chief executives seem to lack the will to decisively act during moments of moral crisis. In fact, it seems that America's men in general are seriously deficient in the traditional masculine attributes of courage and determination. Instead, timidity and diffidence seem to characterize most of America's leaders today.
The very essence of leadership is the ability to act decisively during moments of moral crisis. Whether the decision is approved by a majority of people cannot be a factor. Just the opposite. During times of moral crisis, it is assumed that more often than not the right decision will be unpopular. After all, it was a breakdown of moral integrity that produced the crisis to begin with.
In the Terri Schiavo case, it was a breakdown of moral integrity by Terri's husband and by members of the judiciary that forced a moral crisis: a crisis that could have been resolved by a brave and decisive Florida governor. As with so many of his generation, however, Governor Bush sat frozen by fear and indecision.
For Jeb Bush, this was the second time that his lack of moral willpower resulted in tragedy. The first time was back on April 22, 2000 (on Good Friday weekend, no less) when Attorney General Janet Reno sent federal agents into Florida to seize little Elian Gonzales. When this happened, Governor Bush, again, sat frozen with indifference and inaction. Or, perhaps, the governor was told to stay out of the matter, and he sheepishly complied. Either way, Jeb showed no courage or resolve, and little Elian was whisked away to Communist Cuba.
As an aside, Democrats in Washington, D.C., demonstrated no trepidation or reservation in sending federal agents to seize little Elian at gunpoint without seeking permission from any court! Where were liberals screaming about the "separation of powers" and the "respect for the Constitution" then? Obviously, the only time most liberals pretend loyalty to the Constitution is when it serves their purpose. In this, liberals are eerily similar to most conservatives. Neither show much fidelity to constitutional government!
Likewise, the absence of moral willpower knows no bounds. Most fathers appear frozen with fear and indecision when it comes to disciplining their children. Neither do most husbands seem capable of being leaders to their wives.
I challenge anyone to find a current television program that presents a husband and father as a moral and spiritual leader in his home. It can't be found. Just the opposite. Television programs, and even commercials, inundate the American public with the picture of husbands and fathers as weak, spineless, even comical nincompoops.
On the other hand, wives and women in general are pictured as strong, decisive leaders. And, unfortunately, this caricature reflects many American households more often than not today.
The lack of masculine courage and willpower is quickly turning America's men into milquetoasts. Where are the Patrick Henrys, the George Pattons, the Teddy Roosevelts, the Andy Jacksons, or the Harry Trumans today? Pastors are afraid of their congregations. Husbands are afraid of their wives. Chief Executives are afraid of opinion polls, ad infinitum, ad nasuem.
As a result, another moral crisis has come and gone with zero leadership exemplified by any chief executive at any level of government! Consequently, it's getting harder and harder to stay optimistic about America's future.
© 2005 Chuck Baldwin
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