The Leaders We Deserve

 As the year 5773 comes into view, arriving this coming Sunday
night, I’d like to wish all of you a year filled with peace, health, prosperity
and joy.

Four years ago, Barack Obama
excited huge numbers of Americans, precipitating an emotional reaction among
many. Media swooning and malfeasance meant that most Americans were never
exposed to the the man’s history or his principles. Even those who would have
voted for him if they knew his beliefs and goals weren’t given the opportunity
to do so. As for those of us who were not swept away by his aura, we wished
that we too, could have a candidate whose very being would rouse America’s enthusiasm.

This year, neither candidate is eliciting such passion. It
is better that way. A larger than life candidate can fool us into thinking that
electing him to office will fix what is awry and secure an optimistic future. When
we are swept away in teenybopper rapture, we happily shrug off responsibility
for our own lives, anticipating that the elected one will do the hard work
while we reap the benefits.

Four years after the last election, the Obama glow is gone.
However, it is not only in politics that we live in a period of
disillusionment. Within my own Jewish world, there are pathologies that surely
cause God to weep, both by those who clearly reject Him and by those who present
themselves as His devotees. In the world at large, hatred of Israel and the
Jewish people is emerging in whopping force (this is not at all disconnected
from the pathologies mentioned – God very clearly links our fate as a people to
our behavior). Other faiths face similar challenges and false faiths and ‘isms’
abound. Rejection of God and His directions reaches into every facet of life. The
culture bombards our children with damaging messages, stripping them of the optimism
and innocence that should be a child’s birthright. America faces great peril from
a values vacuum, one sign of which is an economic downturn. The sliver that
divides a functioning, healthy society from one in free-fall is fast becoming
ever thinner. 

I will vote for Mr. Romney and I pray that he wins. The
stakes in this election are too great for anything but choosing whichever of
the two major party choices best, rather than perfectly, points the way to a
positive future. Nevertheless, the very fact that I am far from enamored reminds
me that for this country to regain her greatness the mercy of God rather than
human leadership is the crucial factor. We certainly have to do our part as
involved citizens, but, when all is said and done, we are not in control.
Certainly, voting is important as is being supportive of chosen campaigns, but all
those running for office can do nothing without God’s acquiescence and can
attain excellence only with it. Free choice means that God will not overtly
intervene (except on glorious, rare occasions) to save us from ourselves.  Along with civic involvement, the most
important thing I can do is to inspect my own actions and find ways to correct
my own behavior.  Millions of citizens
combining prayer with self-improvement can have a more powerful effect than a
million dollar ad campaign. Rather than expecting great leaders to save the
American people, the American people need to work and change to deserve great

13 thoughts on “The Leaders We Deserve”

  1. Yes, indeed. Our salvation does not lie in our political leaders. Quite the opposite; the idea that salvation lies in politics is the pathway to our undoing.
    It’s a troubling situation we face. Many of us sense that our institutions are coercing us to move in the wrong direction. Decency is punished; destructive aberation is rewarded. In that sense, it seems that politics has a downside but no upside. Bad politics can destroy us; good politics can merely allow us greater leeway to be righteous, if we choose to do so.
    Sometimes I fear the Judgment is upon us, and we are acting as our own executioners. Must we again deliver ourselves into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar? I hope not!
    On the other hand, I’m encouraged by the tale of Sodom, which would have been spared had there been ten righteous men in the city. Perhaps a few, small in number, can nevertheless make a difference.
    Ah, well, here we are, drops in the ocean, part of a wave so much greater than ourselves. Small, but we have our roles to play. Let us play them as best we can. Beyond that, we are in God’s hand.

  2. “…your rich, unique education and cultural background and life experiences” are all wonderfully reflected in each and every one of your musings.
    My rabbi (and your husband) teaches a powerful truth when he says:
    “Politics is nothing less than the practical application of our value system.”
    Nothing about you is ever lost or disguised when you express yourself in your musings. Quite the contrary, you are freely exercizing your God given right (prescribed in our 1st Amendment) in so doing.
    If you can’t “talk politics” in your musings, then what’s next? Stop talking religion also? Even for a rhetorical question, it’s absurd to have to ask it of the wife of America’s rabbi.
    What America and Americans need is more, not less truth telling. We need more free and less bridled speech. We need more ancient Jewish wisdom and less political correctness. I admire and respect your value system and all that it represents, and we love you and your musings not least because of how well you articulate YOUR values.
    May God RICHLY bless you and yours through this year’s Rosh HaShanah festival.

  3. I enjoy the teachings on the program Ancient Jewish Wisdom, even when it gets a little chatty. Not that I want to separate the personality from the person, but I tune in for substance and not chattiness or wrangling. I expect the truth. wisdom and something that I can extract insight from that will enhance my relationship with God and man. Now, I believe this column is a forum where chatter and wranglings are to be expected. However, more and more I observe a reoccurring theme of political satire taking up most of the story before a few sentences make the point. What was the original intent of the column? I mean, the column is entitled “Susan’s Musings” not “Susan’s Amusing Political Views”. Let’s leave the political satire, views and endorsements to the pundits. There’s plenty of that on MSNBC, FoxNews, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and the like. The very reason we are drawn to your column, the anecdotal quality in which you express your rich, unique education and cultural background and life experiences can be lost and disguised in political satire.I would reason that there would be some political content in this column, but every or every other artical should not detail your political affiliation, presidential candidate choice and disappointment and disillusionment with our current president, unless you are campaigning. I don’t believe you are campaigning, but perception is reality to a lot of folks. Give politics a shabbat! i geniunely like this column, but felt compelled to speak out on this issue. Thanks.

  4. Susan, May the blessings you wish for us come back upon you 100-fold! Your wisdom and the plain-spoken way that you express it has injected a dose of sense not often found these days.
    When the media was hyping Obama in his first presidential campaign, I told someone that even though he talked a good game, I didn’t trust him. This perception has been validated over and over during the past 4 years. I still don’t trust him, and I am not sure that I trust the American voters to get him out of office. It’s a sad day when we elect a president based more on his “likeability” than on his record, policies, character, and attitudes, especially toward the nation he wants to lead.
    We can only prove ourselves to be the great leaders we think we are by taking action to keep our nation great: “one nation, under God.” I can’t help but think that after all the “Hope and Change” we’ve had for 4 years, it’s high time for a little “R & R.”

  5. Mrs. Lapin, your points are well taken, every one of them. It becomes apparent that one cannot graduate from journalism school without emulating, absorbing, and demonstrating a profound leftist slant. The media populated with such graduates exposed the conservative candidates to the nth degree of blistering scrutiny, but criminally, they left their Chosen Candidate largely unvetted, and glorified him unquestioningly as would Pravda, the political fishwrapper of the former Soviet Union.
    But now very nearly 50% of the US population pays no income tax and indeed are in large measure beholden to the Government, in some cases dependent upon the Government. I ask myself every day, are we now at the tipping point, where the subscribers to gimme-gimme-gimme will comprise a majority to reelect this man merely to stay on the dole?
    The welfare and income redistribution has gone too far and if unopposed, may pull us over the edge. JFK, as liberal as he was, said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” And this is one reason why, like you, I will cast my vote for Mr. Romney, against the schemes for rampant Government-sanctioned theft and redistribution of capital to those who no longer wish to work for a living.
    Thanks for your courageous comments! We all need first to set our OWN houses in order. Wishing you a meaningful Rosh HaShanah…

  6. Susan, you spoke my heart! I too am voting for Romney, but I give my heart to The King of Kings and accept his Providence. You wrote: For all those running for office, they can do nothing without God’s aquiesence”, Makes me think of the words of Jesus to the politacal leader Pilate, who had worldly authority. ” You have no power if it were not given to you by God” ! That is what I keep remembering as I prepare myself for the outcome of this election. I trust in no man! Only God! Now and in the end Gods children will be with Him. That is all that matters. God Bless you and God Bless Jerusalem forever! MG Weir ( Catholic)

  7. I completely agree with all you shared. Change must begin with each one of us individually. I feel the same about the candidates – I will vote for Mr. Romney and I pray he wins and that the American people wake up.

  8. I am constantly blessed by your insights and tangible wisdom for how we engage life. I couldn’t agree with your recent post more regarding this coming election.
    My fear is that we as a nation have indeed reflected an attitude that rejects God in our nation, our communities, and in our own lives. It is with a heavy heart I look at this new year, praying I/we will really evaluate the direction we have taken and make the corrections necessary. Thank you Susan for your encouragement and instruction as we all embrace a new year of opportunity and responsibility.
    May you only know peace, health, prosperity, and joy this coming year.


    I would go even farther and say the American people need to work and change to be the great leaders!! In their home, their church and their community.

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