On Tuesday night, 42.8 million people tuned in to watch President Barack Obama deliver his third State of the Union address. Afterward, many of those people watched the Republican Party's and Tea Party's responses, followed by countless hours of analysis and debate. At this time in our country's history, the people of the United States are desperately looking for a hero who will deliver us from the depths of an economic recession, two prolonged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and extraordinary unemployment rates - complex problems with no easy solutions, to be sure. Democrats, Republicans, and Tea Partiers staked claims to the truth, peddling sound bites as policies.
I was reminded of a scene from "The Dark Knight" (2008), where Batman convinces Police Commissioner James Gordon that sometimes the truth isn't enough, and that people deserve to have their faith rewarded. In the end, Gordon explains to his son that Batman is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs at that time.
In "Heroes: What They Do & Why We Need Them," authors Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals identify eight traits of heroes. President Harry S. Truman once said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." In other words, those who are most capable of heroic action are those who are reliable, resilient, strong, and most of all, selfless.
During times of difficulty, struggle, and uncertainty, it is important that we elevate the conversation beyond score-keeping of who's right and who's wrong - whether in the day to day operations of our organizations or at the highest levels of government. In these times, we deserve selfless leaders who will produce results regardless of personal or political costs, and reward our faith in our leaders.
They are the heroes we deserve.