Napoleon Bonaparte. King George III. George Washington.
King George III, as Benjamin West was painting his portrait, asked him what did he think the first president of the free nation, Washington, would do now that the American Revolution had ended.
Benjamin West told King George that Washington would likely go back to his farm
King George reportedly retorted to West, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world!"
Who would voluntarily give up that much power? Such was rare. Still is.
Washington was so highly regarded for his integrity that a number of power brokers and people supported the idea of making the first president, president for life.
Vanity is insanity when it comes to leadership.
Washington did as he had determined - his goal was to serve the people and bring stability to the new nation. He had done that. Refusing a third term, he rebuffed a growing movement to make him president for life. Instead, he calmly handed over the reins of office and power to the next elected president.
In doing this, Washington set the standard for presidents to come and helped stabilize the nation.
Napoleon Bonaparte. Military leader. Emperor of France. Lauded for his military skills. Loved being in power. Desperately wanted to be Emperor for life. He was toppled, twice-exiled and it is said that the people of France wanted him to be a leader much in the same way as the new nation's George Washington. He couldn't do it. Why? He loved power too much and would never give it up on his own accord - even when it was obvious his time was up.
The one thing above all that will topple the victorious is vanity. From city halls to the halls of Congress and behind the walls of the White House. Vanity is insanity when it comes to leadership. It is every leader's greatest enemy.
The pendulum will swing back in America, it always does in politics. By then so much will have been done that it will take leaders with a George Washington not a Napoleon Bonaparte mentality to right this nation again.
Published on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 @ 1:11 PM CDT