“My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From ev’ry mountainside, Let freedom ring!”
These are the powerful words captured in the patriotic song written by Samuel Francis Smith. In the current political environment, this stanza rings in my heart all the louder. Especially the three words “Let Freedom Ring!”
These three words suggest that freedom has a sound.
As lovers of America and our Constitution, our leaders on all sides of the political spectrum must lead in such a way that protects the sound of freedom from the out-of-tune sound of hate, division and vilifying those with whom we politically disagree. It is this sacred sound of freedom that upholds our democracy. It is the sound of freedom that fuels the heart of our military to courageously protect that freedom. It is the sound of freedom that awakens the passion of citizens to engage in peaceful organizing for causes that enable all to have just protection and access guaranteed by our Constitution.
Many men and women across the country have responded to the sound of freedom by answering the call to serve in political office. It is the task of all who answer that call to lead our deeply divided nation in the work of implementing party ideals while being open to nonpartisan compromise to achieve a more perfect union.
Such a leader must embody the characteristics of what Dr. Harv Powers writes about in his book “Redemptive Leadership: Unleashing Your Greatest Influence.” Powers writes, “Redemptive leaders catalyze hope. Because redemptive leaders truly believe that moments of crisis and failure bear the seeds of a person’s greatest influence.”
Redemptive leaders utilize their influence to infuse hope in moments of crisis by making the necessary sacrifices for the greater good. Powers further writes: “The Model of Redemptive Leadership re-orients leaders outward from the inward journey of transformation. The focus shifts from confronting ourselves to encouraging and serving others from a place of deep humility and wisdom.”
The question then becomes: “Is there room for a redemptive leader in our contemporary geopolitical environment?
There has to be.
The work of the redemptive leader is rooted in three essential working points:
- Internal work and transformation: Redemptive political leaders must be intentional in aligning their hearts and ideals with the integrity of their faith and the constitution. The internal work will require looking into the mirror of one’s soul and answering the question,“Am I in it for the people or for selfish gain?” This work will enable the leader to war against self-deception.
- Wisdom: Redemptive political leaders exercise wisdom and humility in all decisions. Wisdom is taking the best available information and making the choice that best aligns with their core values and the Constitution. Decisions packed with wisdom are gained through historical lessons, life experiences,education, debating and learning from those with whom we may disagree. Once a leader has come up with what is best for the greater good, fight like hell for it, unless something wiser is offered.
- Humanity: Redemptive political leaders must never lose sight of the humanity of which they are a part. It is our humanity that unites us. If our political leader loses sight of their humanity, they run the risk of“othering” those they took an oath to serve. In addition, keeping our shared humanity in view even during the time of war will allow the redemptive leader to enter and exit conflict with the hopes of preserving democracy with decency, respect and honor.
The core of being redemptive in how one leads is captured in the words of President Ronald Reagan, when he said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Redemptive leaders must be powered by love, sacrifice and unity so that the sound of freedom continues to ring loud and clear in our country and around the world.