And if more of them were like Adam Frankel we’d be a lot better off. I’m really impressed with his “ten lessons from the Kerry campaign”, for which he was a speechwriter. The excerpts below are to whet your appetite; do go read the whole thing.
The difference today between having good leaders and not having them is the difference between war and peace, life and death. It’s the difference between a satisfying, rewarding life and a miserable one, the difference between good health and sickness, prosperity and poverty, enlightenment and ignorance. Ultimately, it’s the difference between right and wrong.
When I was a senior in college, working on a thesis about the global AIDS pandemic, I met with a former Dean of the Yale School of Public Health. He asked me, “What’s the goal of the fight against AIDS?” I said, “To increase condom distribution around the world.” He said, “That’s a tactic. What’s the goal?” I tried again: “To increase our support for the Global AIDS Fund so countries can tackle their own epidemics.” He said, “That’s also a tactic.” “The goal,” he said, “is to stop the spread of AIDS and care for those who have it.”
If a politician needs a poll to know whether to raise an important issue, that politician has failed a central test of leadership.
I joined the Kerry Campaign, because I was angry about the course of our country, and I thought Kerry could change it. But as I realized, a few months into the campaign, anger will not sustain you … Whenever I was feeling exhausted or beat, no matter how small or unimportant the issue I was working on, I’d think about all the people in this country who were depending on us. That’s where I got my energy. You have to have a hunger to build — to repair — not just to tear down.
If you were born with a sense of injustice, hold onto it. If you were born with a sense of entitlement, I hope you’ll outgrow it. And if you were born with curiosity and an active mind, I hope it will lead you to a life in public service.