Sunday, June 27, 2010

I See... Imperfect People Who Will Save the World

The Mormon Third Eye is convinced that imperfect, flawed people will save the world.

When slavery and state's rights tore the Union in two, President Abraham Lincoln, a flawed manic depressive, struggled with strategies to win the Civil War. The Northern States held clear advantages in almost every important category except one: leadership. Although the North held almost all of the armament manufacturing capabilities, a 2-1 advantage in raw recruits and materials, and even the moral high ground with declared intent to implement the principle that all men are created equal, most of the graduates from West Point were Southerners.

This weakness was painfully apparent during at least the first half of the war. President Lincoln, acting on expert advice, appointed, then had to demote, a long string of highly touted generals bearing impressive professional resumes because they refused to act at the right moment. Even when Union armies held at least 2-1 or 3-1 advantages on specific battlefields, their generals would either refuse to attack, or neglect to pursue a vanquished foe. Historians correctly identify at least three critical battles where the Yankees could have gained great advantages over the Rebels, and possibly end the war earlier, had their field leaders issued orders to finish off fleeing Confederate armies, thereby denying them the opportunity to regroup and and resupply. The bottom line was that Lincoln was cursed with military leadership blessed with peacetime egos and reputations, but seriously lacking wartime nerve.

Then manic depressive Lincoln stumbled upon General Ulysses S. Grant, an aggressive military leader with a serious drinking problem. The Union armies he led frustrated Confederate fighting units because he continued to attack and advance without rest, fighting until the opposition surrendered on unconditional terms. To the Confederacy, Grant was a new type of Union general with backbone and nerve. The great General William Tecumseh Sherman, a protege of Grant who led Union armies into the heart of the South all on an aggressive reign of terror that successfully demoralized Confederate foes, was known to struggle with deep clinical depression that he self-medicated with massive amounts of alcohol.

These three imperfect leaders, two manic depressives and a reformed drunk, made and acted on decisions that won the Civil War because, at the end of the day, they had the courage to do the right thing at the right time. Courage to do the right thing at the right time can cover a multitude of flaws.

1 comment:

  1. If they had no flaws, or if I weren't aware of them, I would not be able to count them true heroes.