Thursday, August 22, 2013

Profiles in Courage

I was only five years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember that day very well.  I was sitting in our living room, watching a children's program when the news bulletin came through.  My mother was upstairs and when she came down the steps, she asked me what I was watching.  When I told her that the president had been shot, she sat on the couch and started to cry. 

I recently took note of the fact that as a student of leadership, I had never read Kennedy's Profiles in Courage.  Don't ask me why.  I just hadn't.  I recently received my copy via 

I found this statement to be an indictment of our lack of leadership in America:  "The way to get along," I was told when I entered Congress, "is to go along" (2006 edition, page 4).  JFK went on in the first chapter to talk about the need in compromise and live to fight another day.  He also downplayed standing on your principles if your principles got in the way of your goals.  Kennedy seems to be saying in this chapter that to succeed you may have to let go of your principles and resist the urge to do what is right if compromise is possible.

I think too many leaders have subscribed to that and that's why our nation is facing such a lack of moral character.  Statesmanship seems to be more valued than character.  Our politicians depend more on public opinion polls than moral principle.  Re-election is sought more than doing what is right. 

It takes courage to do and say the right thing even if it is not popular or politically correct.  May God give us leaders who have a strong moral compass and who understand the saying, "Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it." 


  1. Good blog Dave! I agree with your assessment of today's leaders. Lick you finger and stick it up in the air and see which way the wind is blowing. The person I think of who perfected that style of leadership was Bill Clinton. I thought it was an interesting statement about compromising your principles if they were different than your goals. I think at the very least your goals should be consist with your principles. Where have all the genuine leaders gone?

  2. I agree with your assessment of Clinton. He was the first to openly acknowledge using public opinion polls to determine the direction of his agenda. You ask a great question which I absolutely agree with. Real leaders are few and far between.