Mitt Romney is clearly going through a trial by fire with his daily decline in the polls and the endless barrage of negative media observations and increasing criticisms from his own party. The mantle of “loser” is slowly being placed on his head and in politics a loser is barely a footnote in history.
But lost in all the haste of media analysis is one simple truth and that is that we learn more in defeat than in victory. This is not meant as an endorsement of the former but rather a recognition that in times of stress we have the opportunity to reach into ourselves and do that which we instinctively know to be right.
In this case, Romney, more than anyone, knows he sacrificed a large part of his integrity in order to be the nominee. But now the very people he catered to are pulling away in direct proportion to his drop in the polls. Even his wife is lashing out in frustration.
However, Romney holds the ultimate power lever if he is willing to use it: “to thine own self be true”.
This advice from Shakespeare has incredible potency. Every great President from Washington on allowed their inner self to define their governance. Certainly, they had their moments of pandering but they never allowed that to define them. They had an instinct for doing that which is right and the courage to carry it out. That is why we celebrate them as leaders.
Romney would be well advised to seize the moment and stand tall. Set aside a day for a major speech and once and for all put an end to this “birther” campaign which is a cancer on the Republican brand. Forthrightly, paint a picture of an America that recognizes all shades of people united by a common sense of decency and community. Declare without hesitation that competitive politics is about challenging ideas and not the ugliness of bigotry.
Americans, regardless of party affiliation, expect both parties and their candidates to fully uphold the fundamental principles of human rights that are a basis for a democratic society. We are committed to “one nation under God” and we fully embrace the aspirations and services of all and self-appointed voices of suspicion and divisiveness have no place in American politics.
Leadership endures when it embraces all of us and radiates with optimism and confidence. It is an inclusive vision for tomorrow.
For Mitt Romney, his leadership is now being tested. Will he…