Michael Matteo: Where are today’s great leaders?

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

The barometer for a country’s greatness has always been, and will always be, how the citizens of that country are governed and how those citizens respond to crises. Leadership makes or breaks countries, and it has been the calm leadership of men like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and many others that have allowed America to achieve independence and to get through some very challenging times. Compared to many other nations, America has a very brief history, but during its two-plus centuries it has survived a civil war, an economic depression that lasted for over a decade, and our entry into two world wars was the deciding factor in winning those wars. The U.S. history has not been perfect, but is any nation’s history perfect?

The common denominator in surviving tough times has been individuals stepping forward to lead others as well as the spirit of every American who believes in the principles that turned America into a superpower. A significant part of the American spirit involves national pride, self-determinism, and the belief that “we the people” may not agree on everything, but can agree to disagree in a civil manner because we cherish the freedoms that symbolize America and acknowledge that these truths are self-evident.

Sadly, these truths are being challenged by groups of disgruntled and ill-informed individuals who are determined to change all aspects of American society to suit an agenda that is alien to most Americans. They are the real domestic terrorists who share the misguided belief that changing vocabulary words will change attitudes, blaming others will reduce their culpability for their failures and their quest for open borders denies the basic guideline for managing a nation: take care of your own people before you attempt to take care of others!

While other nations are preparing their school children to be future leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators through their educational systems, American public schools have been invaded by social justice warriors who paint a distorted picture of what America was and is in today’s world. They see nothing wrong in teaching lessons that lead children to hate their country, which ironically allows these educators to spew their venom. They see nothing wrong with vilifying children and blaming them for their skin color while telling other children that their skin color makes them victims. Is there any other country where its educators are even allowed to teach students that it’s okay to burn their flag as a form of expression? They see nothing wrong with an open border policy that punishes those who go through the arduous process of obtaining legal green cards, but rewards those who walk across the border illegally, like an invading army. They see nothing wrong with building a nation of cancelers who seek to deny others the right of free speech, and they are aided and abetted by a complacent government whose leader was elected because all those who voted for him really voted against “the other guy.”

Evidence of this type of tyranny is all over the news on a daily basis. Last week, an elected official (a school board member) thought it was a great idea to take elementary school students on a field trip to a gay bar. Is a bar (gay or straight) an appropriate place to take elementary school children? Yet parents are told that this “professional” educator knows better than they do and they should remain silent or risk being investigated by the FBI at the behest of the US attorney general.

This unAmerican behavior occurs when a Rutgers college professor, charged with educating young adults makes a video about hating white people, but if someone would say the same things about black people would lose their job in half a second. It occurs when the Congress continually ignores public sentiment, which an overwhelming majority want term limits, and it occurs when the president ignores the economic plight of Americans and wishes to give $450,000 taxpayer dollars to each illegal immigrant because they chose to violate US immigration laws, which caused them to be separated from their children.

Perhaps the president might consider Americans first, and understand that this payment is greater than what is paid to US soldiers who died defending the country. Perhaps the president should consider the fact that if there is money to be paid out to anyone, it should go to homeless veterans who served the country and now live on the streets, or it should be given to senior citizens who paid into a system of social security only to have their collection dates for money that is rightfully theirs pushed back because they have been told by government officials that “there isn’t enough money and the system is going bankrupt.” If there are federal dollars for illegal aliens, pork-barrel projects, and foreign aid, why isn’t there enough money for Americans who spent their lifetimes paying into social security?  True leaders don’t use fear, they address it and comfort the fearful, not add to their fears.

The new battle cry of those on the left is “Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity,” which sounds reasonable (can you really argue with giving people an equal chance to be included?) But if you dig deeper, you realize that they never ask what are the alternatives that are being ignored to pursue these “noble” goals? Should diversity be preferred over merit? No winning team won by putting the most diverse lineup on the playing field; they won by playing the best players. Can everything be equal in a world where nothing is truly 100% equal? Some people always have more or less than others, and that’s not a mean statement, it’s an accurate one. Do these individuals who support “inclusion” really want to include everyone or are they only going to be inclusive to those who literally speak their language, support their agenda, and drink the Kool-Aid that they serve? Inclusion is the liberal word for payback because it excludes those who have been blamed for past injustices.

Colleges around the nation are scrapping the SAT and ACT tests because they claim that these tests are racist. Is being able to edit an essay racist? Is being able to demonstrate that you can do algebra, geometry or critically read a passage and apply deductive reasoning to ascertain the right answers, racist? Universities have admitted that the students with the top GPA’s and test scores are being denied entry because they are more interested in “diverse” looking student bodies than they are in admitting students who actually have a chance to graduate, which is probably the reason why in 2021, 40% of undergraduate students drop out before getting a degree and only 44% of students who attend four-year colleges take six years to graduate. Despite these numbers, those in the Democratic Party believe that hardworking taxpayers should pay for this nonsense.

Great leaders motivate, inspire and calm citizens in times of crisis. They don’t pass the buck or spend the taxpayer’s bucks on those who have no regard for the boundaries that define what it means to be a nation. They don’t side with those who seek to harm the country. Great leaders make tough decisions and don’t blame their predecessors for problems they face, and instead solve these problems. Currently, America has a problem with the scarcity of economic goods, but this is because of a scarcity of true leaders who have the ability to lead effectively.


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Michael Matteo


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