Wherever we humans come together in a group we naturally look for an elder with wisdom to lead us. It doesn’t matter whether our group is as small as the single family or as large as a nation we instinctually turn to the wise.

Probably many of us recall our own grandparents as wise leaders in our family. In our towns and cities we choose over and over men and women to sit on our councils because of their experience and their temperament. Our state has for the most part an enviable history of choosing enlightened leadership: governors such as King, McKernan, Muskie, Brennan and Longley, and senators and representatives such as Smith, Snow, Baldacci, Allen and the like.

To lead our nation we have often chosen and been inspired by those with humble greatness: Obama, the elder Bush, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, to name only a few. Although different in political persuasion, all of these leaders from grandparents to president seemed to possess the attribute of wisdom.

What then is the nature of this trait that we know to be essential in a leader? How do we know if a candidate possesses wisdom? We are apt to best identify wisdom more by what it doesn’t display that by what it does. The voice of wisdom never speaks out of fear. The voice of wisdom never speaks out of pessimism. Though other voices of anger, intolerance, despair or bigotry may swirl around us, the voice of wisdom will lead us in a sure direction. As we make our own decisions in the upcoming election, let’s listen for and be guided by that still, small voice.

Dennis J. Perkins


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