Imagine a situation that challenges every citizen; when our collective future and even our survival appear to be in question. What is a leader to do?
In the darkest hours of World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt knew what to do and what to say. Night after night, he took to the radio to deliver another of his famous “fireside chats.” Roosevelt’s words provided the entire county hope and resolve. One of his memorable quotes was “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
After he finished yet another of his reassuring radio messages, he would immediately returned to speak to with his military advisors where the reality of the situation had to wash over him. The picture they painted was bleak.
Yet, the next evening he would return to the microphone and deliver another reassuring message. That is what real leaders do. Our country and the rest of the world listened to him (and to Churchill) and rallied to win the war.
Imagine what things would be like if our leaders were publicly pessimistic. How would we react if they spoke to us with words like, “My fellow citizens, the situation is dark and all hope is already lost.”
Recently a worldwide CORVID19 pandemic left our government, science and medical leaders with many more questions than can be answered. How long will this last? Can a preventative inoculation be developed? How many will die? These are the questions routinely asked by members of the press. These are unanswerable questions and those asking likely know that. Yet these leaders struggle to provide answers that include some optimism. It is then that the reporters who asked these imponderable questions accuse our leaders of “spreading false hope.”
There are times when hope may be all we have to stay the course. This seems to be one of those times. I thank those leaders who include a little hope in their answers.