Where are the Best and the Brightest When America Desperately Needs Them?

Difficult work remains for those in whom Martin Luther King Jr. had the most hope: the people, organizing grass-roots power for peace.

Anyone seen them, those Americans who possess the skills, knowledge, wisdom and integrity to lead this country out of the massive hole into which it has managed to dig itself? I sure haven’t even though I have been searching for those kinds of unique Americans for some time now. The question is: do they even exist; is this special breed of American now a part of this country’s past?

During my lifetime I can’t recall a period in this nation’s history when it was more urgent to have these kinds of unique individuals come forward and take this country in a completely different direction, totally opposite from the current misguided one we have been traveling. We look for leadership, patriots, visionaries, and we simply can’t find them.

When I speak of the best and the brightest I’m not referring to those academicians and intellectuals who typically fit that description, whose heads are often in the clouds, wrapped up in theories and complex equations.

I’m talking about creative and innovative leaders, problem-solvers that have the ability to analyze and implement solutions to this country’s myriad of problems; those who can see exactly why this country is heading in the wrong direction and can envision the path leading toward a new, positive future.

We need fresh blood, new thinking and leaders who put their country and its people above their own interests. We need modern-day patriots like our Founding Fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton and others who, when their country was in a state of crisis, did not hesitate to put their lives on the line in standing up against the British oppressors.

What we don’t need are the current politicians who feel absolutely no shame as they kneel down and eat from the troughs erected for them by the masters of Corporatism. Some would call this ongoing practice as “slopping the hogs.” These low level politicians who have sold their political souls to the highest bidder are a disgrace to this country.

Suppose we did a very extensive search and actually found some of the best and brightest Americans who we felt could take this country in a new and positive direction. Could we be confident that they would actually have the strength and fortitude to stand up to the powers that have ruled Washington for decades; those in the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, and the Justice Department? Could we find that person who has the courage to initiate a political revolution by refusing to submit to the dictates of the masters of Corporatism, the Wall Street Banksters and the Military-Industrial Complex?

As this country and its people search for these unique, creative, visionary leaders take a look at the less than exciting, status quo types of candidates that are running for president in 2016. There are now 15 Republican candidates, plus 4 Democratic . Would the likes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie or Marco Rubio even be considered for placement on this list of the best and the brightest? Would Hillary Clinton? There’s not even the remotest chance!

Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running and Senator Elizabeth Warren who is not,  would certainly qualify as being in the company of the best and brightest of Americans; they have been bringing a new and exciting message to Americans; a message that has the potential to ignite the massive power of the American people to demand that this government dramatically change its objectives and direction; yes this can happen if the people are inspired and led by strong courageous leaders who connect with them; who can relate to their growing anger and frustrations. If this power of the people is ignited and energized then this movement will become unstoppable.

This political revolution can happen as the presidential candidacy of Senator Sanders is gathering steam and momentum and we are seeing his populist message resonate with many thousands of people who have desperately been looking for new leadership.

Warren and Sanders represent a great opportunity to change America but we need to see more and more of these same brilliant Americans step forward and join with them in waking up, energizing and motivating the people of this nation in demanding change and refusing to take no for an answer. They are out there somewhere; they have the talent and the skills but they are, no doubt, hesitant to enter into politics because of the corruption that has become embedded in the system.

It may seem like an impossible task, one whose probability is not that great because of this country’s current corrupted and highly negative political system. But that must not be allowed to become a deterrent because, if America ever needed the best and the brightest to come forward in these dark times in this nation’s history, it is right here, right now.


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.