Admit it. You watch these election speeches and rallies, and sometimes don’t you fantasize…just a little? Don’t you wish you could wave a magic wand and summon up the wisest, most courageous, and creative minds to guide us? I have. Some of my choices are living, some passed, some are even fictional, but they embody the values I’d love to see in our next leader.
Here are my six choices for fantasy President…
Audrey Hepburn – Before her death in 1993, this Belgian-born actress dedicated her life to feeding starving children. Her work for UNICEF took her around the world. She was a staunch anti-war spokesperson. I admire the fact Audrey took her fame, money and entitlement and worked to make the planet better.
Presidential Moment: I picture her taking the Oath of Office in one of those beautiful crisp white suits she wore, her large, serious eyes stating, “”I solemnly swear I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States…”
Famous quote: “There is a science of war, but how strange there isn’t a science of peace. There are colleges of war; why can’t we study peace?”
Martin Luther King – If we’re going to dream, then “let’s have a dream.”Like many civil rights leaders, he had his flaws. But he also had a soaring intellect and open heart. Like all people on this list, he was a pacifist. Like Ghandi, he knew true power comes from principled, non-violent persistence.
Presidential Moment: The country needs someone to speak for the poor and vulnerable. Martin does so in his usual mix of fiery Baptist preacher, and soft-spoken intellectual. He sees true power comes when everyone rises.
Quote: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Albert Einstein – What can I say? I’m hooked on smart people. When Physicist Albert Einstein wasn’t creating the “Theory of Relativity,” he was an outspoken defender of civil right, including those of homosexuals. When he saw the results of the nuclear testing he helped design, he was horrified.
Presidential Moment: I see his staff coming into the Oval Office first thing in the morning. They find him as they do most days, gazing out the window at the rose garden, deep in thought. Finally he turns and they see he’s barely slept. “I know how to bring peace to the Middle East,” he says. “Here’s how I’d begin…”
Famous quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Jane Goodall – This famous British primatologist studied the chimpanzees of Gombe, Tanzania for decades. Besides giving her insight into animal behavior, they gave her clues into human as well – our need for tribalism, dominance, and aggression.
Presidential Moment: I see her speaking to Congress in her slow, studied, librarian manner. She’s soft-spoken but firm. She urges restraint over war, compassion over violence, and cooperation over dominance.
Famous quote: “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
Atticus Finch – Yes, fictional characters like this one in “To Kill a Mockingbird” count too. (And if he looks like Gregory Peck in the 1960’s movie, even better). I loved this small-town lawyer’s thoughtful gravitas. Like many wise people, he saw and understood human nature. He tried his best to open their minds, but as we saw in the trial of black defendant Tom Robinson, he wasn’t always successful.
Presidential Moment: I see him speaking during a racial crisis to the nation – thoughtful and measured. And yet you feel the passionate intellect behind the words. And you trust what he wants to do, is the right thing.
Quote: “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.”
Maya Angelou – I loved this late poet, author and activist. Every time I heard her give an interview, she struck me with her dignity, strength and wisdom. Growing up black and poor in the south, she still found a way to see the best in all of us.
Presidential Moment: I picture Maya focusing on our similarities, more than our differences. I see her bringing us together in ways that unite, not divide. I see her working to bring out the best of our natures, not the worst.
Quote: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Unfortunately for us, the truly wise and enlightened are seldom drawn to power. That’s why we have politicians.
I guess its hard getting it all in one person – charisma, intellect, imagination, wisdom, and a good heart. Maybe it’s too much to ask.
But we can dream can’t we?
Agree? Disagree? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share. Thank you!