We are reeling in this nation from a lack of cohesive leadership. In a time when we desperately need clear directions on how to live as a society, Americans are confused about whether to stay at home or venture out; whether to open their businesses or keep them closed; whether they should wear a mask or not; whether to get tested for Coronavirus or not. Messages on these issues are convoluted by competing political agendas. We don’t know who to trust or where to get valid information. While we need our city, county, state, and national leaders to help us wade through this morass of illness and despair, trust in government has deeply eroded. We don’t know which of the competing messages to listen to. Our country is hopelessly divided, growing increasingly polarized racially, economically, politically, and philosophically. American values, we formerly held so dear, are blurred by anger, frustration, fear, and depression. In this vacuum, where we do not feel safe, we see a dangerous rise in anarchy. We are crying out for honest, clear, strong leadership. We look for heroes everywhere, who can lead us out of this crisis, leaders who will save us from impending doom. And if we cannot find them, we will set out, somewhat haphazardly, to right this ship ourselves, each of us in our own way.
Successful examples of cohesion have appeared in other nations, where exceptional leaders, an impressive number of whom are women, lead with clarity, compassion, and empathy for their citizens. People in these nations trust their leaders and follow their guidance -- Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Germany, South Korea and even China have been united in a sincere concern for the whole of their nations; and citizens have shown a willingness to sacrifice for the common good. Today, this seems to be lacking in the very divided (United) States.
What kind of leadership do we crave? We long for integrity, honesty, clarity, wisdom and compassion. We seek leaders who connect with us on a human level, and who know how to collaborate with others to seek the best common solutions to the many societal issues we face. We seek leaders we can trust, who have our best interest at heart, and not that of competing political and economic interests. Without this leadership in America, we fail.
Additionally, in this globally connected society, we cannot proclaim, “America First.” In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, we can already see that what happens in China, India, Kenya, Mexico, or the UK eventually affects us, too. For years, the US has been a leader guiding international thought in almost every field. We cannot step away from the table and refuse to collaborate in international organizations. The US is needed to help find solutions to global health, climate change, trade, research and development, nuclear non-proliferation, gender equity, business, constructive technology, or any number of global issues. We know, through experience, that what happens in Kabul will eventually have ripple effects here.The world needs the US to play a pivotal role in our societal evolution. We cannot do this as a divided, leaderless nation. We cannot contribute to this planet without our values intact. What will it take for the US people to unite and find leaders who embody the qualities we need-- humility, integrity, knowledge, and respect for all people. Right now, we are all in this crisis together. There is a human outcry to unite and help each other. If we do not do it now, when our people are dying, then when will we act like a “United” States?
We still can do this, but, we all need to vote and elect leaders with integrity who can guide us forward. Request your ballot today and vote by mail. Vote as if your life depended on it! Because it does.
Joanne Grady Huskey is an author, speaker and coach. She is Co-Founder and Vice President of iLive2Lead Young Women's Leadership Summit, Co-Founder of Global Adjustments (India); and of the American International School of Chennai (India).