With political parties seemingly less productive and more gridlocked, and business executives focused primarily on amassing wealth, are there any real and effective leaders anymore? If so, who?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I have all but given up on finding leaders from among the ranks of politicos in Washington or in our state houses across the country. Self-dealing, blind party loyalty and rampant self-aggrandizement rule the day, and the few moderates left find themselves buried under partisan shouting and pushed to the periphery. There are a few in the House, like a New Jersey Republican congressman voting against the tax bill because it will hurt New Jerseyans who will no longer be able to deduct their state income taxes, but he’s by far in the minority.

Instead, I look to people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, visionary businessmen with the fortunes to back their dreams, to lead our society in the 21st century. Robert Heinlein’s future history series has a character early on named Delos D. Harriman, “the man who sold the moon.” He was a private entrepreneur who financed the colonization and mining of the moon, and made space travel profitable. I can see SpaceX as the genesis of this sort of enterprise, and the money generated from such an endeavor being used to foster change and social growth here on earth.

Am I dreaming? Did I read too much Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein as a child? Perhaps. But I prefer “my” future to the one currently being spun by our leadership class.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists one definition of the word leader as: “a person who has commanding authority or influence.” I’ll use this definition as the benchmark by which to identify who our real leaders are in this country. M-W’s dictionary lists numerous definition for the word lead. The definition I’m concerned with involves being in the forefront, guiding down a particular path, influencing thought and action in one direction or another. I also want to emphasize leading us toward positive results, much like an orchestra conductor successfully leading a 100-piece orchestra through a nearly perfect rendition of a piece of music. Uniting a group to achieve a common goal or goals.

By my definition of a leader, CEOs of large corporations are leaders. So are military generals and admirals and law enforcement heads, presidents of large universities and colleges, heads of the two major political parties, the President of the United States and his cabinet and top advisors and staff, members of Congress and the senior politicians in state governments, and heads of major religions. But do they really lead us? Do they inspire large groups of people to work toward common positive goals? Most importantly, will those goals benefit the country at large, and by extension, the world? By most measures, I must conclude those answers are “no.”

Politicians have led us into permanent political gridlock. Military and police leaders (hindered by politicians, unfortunately) have led us into endless wars against seen and unseen foes: Iraq, Afghanistan, Terrorism, Drugs, Poverty (poor people are arrested more often, killed more often, harassed more often than people in the middle-class and above). Religious leaders have led us into centuries of arguing to the death about which God is the “One True God.”

The net result of where our leaders have led us is a fractured society, a severe pollution crisis based on the increasingly adverse effects of a warming climate, rekindled animosity toward those of a different race or religion, increasing national debt that may never get repaid, and wealth concentration the likes of which hasn’t been seen for centuries. In other words, the world’s people have been led into a downward spiral for the past century.

The real leaders can and will only be found on the local level. These are the people who organize charity fundraisers, the ones who join the school board or the city council, the retired people who volunteer at schools, local charities, or civic projects. They are the kids who stand up to the bully at school. They include the woman who finally calls out the male co-worker who has been sexually harassing all the female employees for years. They are the people who clean up the polluted creeks or pick up trash from the sides of the roads. They are the men and women who view parenting as the most important job they’ll ever have and strive daily to teach their children how to be thoughtful, independent, responsible adults. They are the people who give a damn about the elderly stuck in substandard nursing homes, the mentally ill on the streets, the homeless, and the hungry. They are the medical and legal professionals who donate free services to those who need them but can’t afford to pay.

Bottom line, the real leaders are, and should always be, every individual who has a vision of a world that is better for everyone tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Those are the people who we should listen to, watch, and emulate.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent– Hell. To. The. No. There aren’t any effective leaders anymore. There never was. The cold reality is, man has dominated man for their own selfish gain. It’s what you can get, the name you can create for yourself, and the significance you and your family can bleed from this world that counts today.

Even with the best intentions, politicians and humanitarians will never be able to provide mankind with what it truly needs – proper health care, an extraordinary education system, peace of mind, eradication of poverty, and crime and violence. Should I go on?

It is just not within man’s power to rule mankind. If politicians find it difficult to make proper decisions without having countless advisors (and their advisors have advisors) how in the world will they be able to lead a nation?

Mankind is also driven by emotions. “Use your heart” or “follow your instincts”. That’s the advice people offer these days. Your heart and instinct will never be good enough to advance the affairs of a country/nation.

In fact, even if the world political rulers were to put heads and action together, they would still not be able to rid mankind of its suffering. Man will never achieve blissful peace, good health, or an abundance of food for everyone.

It just will not happen. If world leaders cannot bring us those basic necessities to live comfortably and anxiety free, shouldn’t we be looking toward a higher form of governance, one that is not ruled or corrupted by man? Think about it.

Cartwright-I would agree with my right honorable friends from Minnesota and North Carolina on this issue. Let’s look to the business world and at the local level to find real leaders. There are plenty of very visionary businessmen in the world right now who are leading us into the future with advances in technology and medicine, for example. I think the important leaders aren’t at the international or national levels, and I don’t think they are in politics. I would look to volunteers at local animal shelters, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks, and outreach programmes or local charities who are spearheading efforts to make a difference in their communities. In my book, these people are not only leaders but they are heroes. They do more to make a difference in people’s lives and in the world than any politician.

I feel like I’m in the minority here, but I do believe that President Trump will eventually be recognized as a good leader. Once the rhetoric and partisanship are put aside, I think people will see that he is leading America in the right direction and accomplishing many good things for our country. I won’t digress into a political diatribe right now, as I think we’ll be getting into this later. I guess we will see if I’m right about President Trump’s leadership when he’s up for re-election.

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