There is a special wall in the Oval Office of our Nation’s White House. A tradition has followed one U.S. President after the next. Both parties have found a common ground with the decoration on this wall.
Each elected president is welcome to change the portrait. It is reserved for the past president that most inspires the current president as he assumes the duties of the most powerful office in the world. This portrait is a reminder that all are human, all need inspiration from others and that great leaders are standing on the shoulders of others.
One of the most popular portraits has been Abraham Lincoln. This portrait hung in the White House as an inspiration for President George W. Bush. The 43rd President of the United States drew from the inspiration of this historic figure.
Lincoln certainly had his share of historical challenges. The Civil War threatened to tear the nation apart. Opinionated politicians on both sides of the war fragmented into local factions.
There was no shortage of animus that surrounded Lincoln. He had to be courageous, shrewd and faithful. Morals drove him. Passion fueled him. Faith directed him.
History paints him as an honest man. He was honest to a fault. Whether in public or private he chose not just a cliché to dictate his public leadership but genuine choices.
Once he was the postmaster of a small out-of-the-way post office. He received word that budget restraints forced the decision to close several post offices around the nation. His was one of them.
The end date of operations for his little post office was certain. Lincoln complied precisely. During his shut down of the office and locking it down, he set aside the remaining funds of a few dollars and some change.
Years later when the post master General caught up with each of the closures, he was pleasantly surprised that Lincoln handed over all of the proper paper work and the exact sum of several dollars and change that was rightfully the property of the US Government. It had been years between the closure and the accounting. That integrity followed Lincoln throughout his civil service and political years.
Leaders must be honest. Every leader doing anything worth doing will run into opposition. The truth will always be the best course.
Once the bad ones are left to history, the honest leaders will ultimately prevail. Their success is never determined by their manipulation but by God’s directive grace.
photo credit: brucefong photography