The following message from Del. Scott Lingamfelter originally appeared on his Facebook page and is republished here with his permission:
I’ve been thinking….
Yesterday was a very rewarding and humbling one for me personally. Earlier this year, I had not planned to attend the Virginia GOP convention in Roanoke, besides it was scheduled on our 34th anniversary. But in the end, I felt an obligation to go and be among my party and support my pick for US Senate, Ed Gillespie. And yes I got back in time for a great evening with my bride, a day further made happier by the news that our son John and his wife Erika will be having a baby, our first grandchild!.
Sitting on the sidelines is not an option for me. And I am glad I went to Roanoke. Why? Because I was frankly overwhelmed by the touching reception I received by many people, folks who supported me last year, who gave me words of encouragement.
This is a period of reflection for me. Having sortied out in a statewide race where I fell well short of the mark, reluctance is an understandable emotion. It’s not a matter of desire, or fear of losing, or even contemplating the enormous commitment in time and treasure, not to mention the impact on the ones I love. Combat is in my blood. But I am dismayed with how we go about picking our leaders.
In a world where ambition and power dominate the politics of the day, would-be elected leaders are always looking for something that “defines” them. What we are left with in this practice is a party of many “champions” for this or that issue, but no real leaders who are willing to cross-cut the many challenges we face for fear of blemishing their central message. Platitudes seem to dominate the world of champions. We lack leaders. In America we lack elected leaders who are willing to take a stand and not worry about what is said of them in the news and even among their own ranks when they act on principle. Real leaders take on the tough issues, all of them, and when they do, they are sure to disappoint in some quarters. But that is the price of leadership. Platitudes don’t carry the burden of work. As Margret Thatcher was fond of saying “First you win the issue, then you win the vote”. What that means to me is you must lead in all of what faces us, not cherry pick what makes your supporters ears itch.
This week, we celebrated the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. I posted earlier Eisenhower’s message to the troops as they launched the assault. It was inspiring. What is not well known is that Ike also wrote a note in advance taking full responsibility for the operation if it failed. This was not fatalism at work. It was leadership and we lack it more than ever.
In the time that remains for me, I will be looking for real leaders, not champions. They come and go. But real leaders endure…