You are an unapologetic cheerleader for our nation and those who sign up to serve as public servants. Why is this so important to you?
Our Founding Fathers expected that all Americans would choose some form of service to our country to ensure our freedom. It might be military service, volunteering in your community, or public service as a career or a citizen lending their leadership to a city or county board. They all signed a Declaration of Independence against the most powerful military empire on the planet at the time. They risked their lives, homes, farms and businesses, and families. They served. We should all find ways to serve too.
What do you see as the biggest challenges the Founding Fathers faced that could still be a challenge for leaders today?
Doing what’s right is the continual challenge facing all leaders. It would have been easy to capitulate to the all powerful British empire. Leadership requires telling the truth, taking personal risks, and demonstrating moral courage. You have to serve a cause larger than yourself. Their lessons in leadership are timeless and instructive to us today.
They were fairly young men by today’s standards. What leadership qualities do you see among them that standout in good, honorable statesmen and women of today?
As leaders, they understood the need to have an inspiring and achievable vision, a strong team, the right people in the right roles, and long term discipline to a winning plan. They had robust debates but their team stuck together. They identified who on the team would be best for specific responsibilities – Washington to lead our troops, Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence, and Franklin to negotiate the Treaty of Paris to end the Revolutionary War. Anytime we lead needed change, there are challenges and setbacks. They held fast to their principles and plan for freedom during some difficult times and saw it through to its ultimate success which we now celebrate.
Independence Day is one of the most important days in our nation. What do you think Americans should take into consideration on July 4th?
Freedom requires service and sacrifice. It is not automatic. It must be preserved and protected by every generation.
The United States of America is the greatest melting pot in the world. How do you see us continuing to be a successful example of freedom, even with the challenges and differences of opinion?
Like any family, we may have disagreements and debates but that does not mean we cannot pull together when we need to do so. We are an example of a successful society that is diverse in background but unified by a specific set of values and principles such as freedom and opportunity for all. People flee countries where the type of government our Founding Fathers feared has taken everything from them, they start anew in America, and they go as far as their dreams will take them. We must endeavor to always be the America President Reagan once described as “the shining city on a hill.”