It's time for real leaders again to excite the nation

Thursday, August 28, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:40 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The sun continues its path and we again are experiencing the change of quadrennial seasons; the end of the summer Olympic Games and the opening of the American political conventions.

Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed the excitement the Beijing Olympics gave us. NBC did a wonderful, if not an overwhelming job at covering the events, though it might not know what to do with over 1 million Internet pages of information, some of it quite mundane.

Now the earth has moved and the seasons have changed. Speeches will take over where weight lifting once reined, and I still cannot get CNN and MSNBC unless I get the "Family Package" from the cable guys. Not that I am too cheap to give Mediacom my money, I just do not need 400 channels of nothing to watch 10 channels of something.

On Monday, I watched Sen. Edward Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention with the same intensity that I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

The Aug. 8 video introducing Michael Phelps and his family, his climb to greatness and his gold metal wins in the 2004 Olympic Games caused my hands to tighten in anticipation. Waiting for Phelps to enter the water and out-swim the world caused most of us to hold our breath. He created great excitement, And even though he said little, his strength was more than evident.

Watching the video story of Kennedy did much the same. Watching Kennedy walk onto the stage was like seeing Phelps on the starting blocks for his next race of the Olympics. Even my Republican friends talked about the surviving Kennedy son and his superior and continuous service to this country. For me, Kennedy's coming on stage brought an excitement, the knowing that this great American will continue to grace our radios, televisions and computers, still able and promising to answer the bell of the Senate roll call for years to come.

Yes, Kennedy is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. Yes, Kennedy was reading his script, sometimes poorly. Yes, Kennedy looked pale and puffy from the chemotherapy treatments for his brain tumor. Yet watching him stand at the lectern, I listened for his very Kennedyesque style and a delivery that should blow out every other speaker in this and the Republican convention. And so far, I am not disappointed.

Older Americans, and I include myself in this group, remember a time when Americas most powerful speakers were not television preachers asking for money, but our elected officials who stood their ground with a quixotic sense of gallantry needing to right a wrong. Kennedy is unmatched in either party.

America needs a man or woman who will sit high upon a horse to fight the giants. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt leapt upon that steed. Harry Truman filled that saddle in 1948. John Kennedy did in 1960, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992. Whether it is Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain who is awarded that ride, our society needs a leader who will excite the nation to become better, stronger and economically faster, to raise our own swords and fight the evils. History provides the proof.

As of Wednesday morning, the Democrats have not found that fight, that mission that will drive us. I watched good speakers in Gov. Mark Warner, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, but something was missing. FDR had the Depression and fighting the Axis powers. Truman had segregation. Kennedy reached for the moon, and Reagan reached to end Soviet oppression. Today, America is looking for that great mission to lead us to continued greatness. Ending the war is not that feat. Ending AIDS, ending poverty, bringing American education back to its prominence, are close. More important, we need a voice that inspires. We need to shoot for the moon. We need to find that Don Quixote in our next president before the sun sets.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at


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