Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“Now Let Us Praise Real Leaders With Moral Courage.”

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The philosopher Plato said that the highest human virtue is courage. Physical courage draws the admiration and praise of people everywhere and is a salient characteristic of our greatest heroes and heroines. The great literature of Western Culture and civilization is filled with the valiant exploits of both men and women who have ridden the high tides of adversity and made stupendous sacrifices to serve a cause nobler than themselves. We are all the direct or indirect beneficiaries of these sterling examples of shining leadership in every field of human activity and we are truly thankful for them.

With physical courage people love and admire you but with moral courage people can hate and revile you. Moral courage is an exceptional quality of different character often requiring a person to stand alone against the crowd in his or her convictions, and by so doing risking the wrath and indignation of one’s adversaries for taking unpopular stances or for pleading causes that may threaten the status quo or the self interests of the powerful.

The ledgers of names of those persons with great moral courage in human history are perhaps fewer than those with great physical courage or are perhaps lesser known, but their heroic examples of leadership still inspire and compel us to fashion poetry and prose, tales and songs that will forever honor and venerate them for generations to come.

Needed today in this country are more leaders with moral courage; men and women who will not just go along to get along but will stand for truth, justice and equality for all Americans. We need men and women possessing the moral strength to have compassion for every man, woman and child; those still hurting, bleeding and in need in this country. At at time when it is fashionable to be politically impervious and numb to the pain of those who suffer in America, and then self righteously blame and excoriate them as victims and then take away what little they have left, we need people of great strength and faith who will do what is right for all Americans, and not look the other way or apathetically turn the reigns of our beloved democracy over to self serving tyrants who want it all for themselves.

We need that moral courage now more than ever in the political realm of American power politics as the axis of America’s future lopsidedly tilts towards mammoth corporations and their ruling oligarchs. It means making the hard decisions and not simply touting a party line out of political expediency but having the moral will and nerve to stand one’s ground or even compromise with political opponents by creating policies and legislation that will help us all.

Governor Rick Snyder’s recent decision to veto the voter suppression attempts in Michigan was an act of moral courage at a time when party politics in Michigan and in America overall are the preeminent trends. And although many citizens have problems with the Emergency Manager laws which have recently been enacted in Michigan, Snyder could have easily given acceded all attempts to take the vote away from citizens do not have the proper i. d.

We need that moral courage in the economic, social, religious and educational arenas so that equality and equanimity, which are hallmarks of the more successful global democracies, can be thoroughly realized by every person in America.

But recreating this kind of country requires men and women of every station and hue with strong moral fiber and tensile strength and vertebrae that will think the unthinkable and do the undoable. It means standing among the throng and pushing forth a grander and more glorious vision of America so that all Americans have a real opportunity at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If no man is above the law then let justice ensure that this axiom applies to every living person and not just to poor and middle class Americans while a fiscal elite steal the bank, bankrupt the lives and shred the futures of every day Americans.

It also means breaking the vicious cycle of our current culture wars, calling a cease fire on the war on women, minorities, the poor and others, binding our wounds and finally healing them. It means forgetting our petty salty grievances and breaking the almost demonic and medieval spell of partisan party politics which Balkanizes us still into perpetually hate and blood drenched camps.

It means overhauling and revamping our broken democracy, getting money and its corrupting influence out of politics, subscribing to principles and values that will not force political opponents to lie, cheat and steal or swift boat their political opponents or sell their souls to the devil for political gain. It is making sure that no child or adult person goes homeless or hungry, caring for our elderly and disabled and providing gainful employment so that every person can live with dignity, honor and hope for the future.

The moral courage of which I am referring today may require leaders to break ranks with those values and practices of unyielding group think that are spiraling our country downward and creating a nation that will erode permanent confidence in our cherished ideals. History shows that if such trends continue we are setting the stage for the eventual disintegration of American Representative Democracy. Spengler, Gibbon, Goldsworthy and Zinn tell us that great nations decline and perish chiefly due to the perilous prices paid from civil wars and infighting, a reprehensible and comprehensive failure to adapt to changing circumstances and conditions and a spartan and arrogant unwillingness to see things from their adversaries point of view.

The resulting loss of confidence and hope in the higher ideals and sublime principles upon which our nation has been founded and the failure to requite justice on every level of society can easily precpitate a continuing loss of confidence so essential for democracy. When the people no longer believe that the vaulted ideals of their nation are exalted, that their elected representatives no longer do their bidding, that the words of their leaders no longer match their actions, and that a failure of nerve to do what is right overrides a periodic and humane nerve of failure, it is matter of time before the whole enterprise unravels.

Friends, belief is an important part of the promise of the future and when the people no longer believe and trust that America will be fair and just and equal and right, we all lose, every single one us; rich and poor, black and white, young and old, male and female, conservative and liberal, every one of us loses! We will all perish in a fools paradise on our islands of arrogance and isolation as we watch the best democracy on earth implode into the sands of ignorance, prejudice and despair as other empires have before them.

Physicist Niels Bohr developed the Principle of Complementarity which largely suggests that two opposing opinions or theories must often be juxtaposed to arrive at a broader and more totalizing understanding of truth. What we have now in Washington and other parts of our country are some political leaders whose entire agenda is to prevent Barack Obama’s reelection and will suicidally cling to these subjective truths at all costs until democracy itself is no more.

Let us now praise real leaders with moral courage. We need more of them; men and women who will stand and say that “Wrong is still wrong even if everybody is for it and right is still right even if everybody is against it.”

America is at a critical crossroads today. Strong leadership is essential for the survival of American Democracy. Moral courage is absolutely indispensable in turning the tide of our beloved republic back to government of the people, for the people and by the people.

We need that leadership today. We thank President Obama and other leaders presently and historically on both sides of the aisle who have displayed this moral courage and are willing to speak up and stand up and who painfully understand “that the only way for evil to prevail is for the good to remain silent.” They realize what is at stake and they will not go down without a fight as they observe our nation edging toward the abyss.

Let us praise real leaders with moral courage! Let us support them and uplift them so that our democracy and our nation will experience a new birth of freedom, and a new reign of justice and equality that will avoid the fate of other nations that have perished from this earth!

Let us now praise real leaders with moral courage. Our democracy depends on you. Our hopes are placed on you. May God give you strength to do what is right for every single American who is seeking the light and deserving of a better life!

One response to ““Now Let Us Praise Real Leaders With Moral Courage.””

  1. Dorothy Merchant Avatar
    Dorothy Merchant

    Pastor Stewart,
    Was this a biography? You are the epitome of a real leader with moral courage. Your inclusive vision for our government is doable. The challenge is for “good people” to put aside egotistical or self-serving darwinistic baggage and coming together as one to do it…
    You are the holder of the flashlight in the darkness. By your example you inspire others to be leaders with moral courage. My prayer is that more of us will see whats out there and help create a spotlight on whats needed to heal our nation and insure the future quality of life for our progeny. Missing this moment in time could lead to genocide,fratracide,homicide or suicide.
    Once again, a brilliant literary triumph and a clarion trumpet for renewal of moral courage..
    Let us now give you praise 🙂

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