Presidential Commentary by Dr. Brian Johnson
William Shakespeare offers the following observation of humanity: “Virtuous and villainous all men must be; Few in the extreme but all in the degree.” And it is the rarest and most “extreme” of cases indeed where one finds men and women whose professed words are consistently resembled in their lived works. In Booker T. Washington’s second observation of Theodore Roosevelt he speaks to the 2nd greatest 10-letter word: Consistent (Here again, character is nothing but consistency. It is not your highest moment nor your lowest moment but your most consistent moment.) The man Booker who met national and global leaders described Mr. Roosevelt as not only the “highest example of a man that was the same in political office that he was in private life” but he also says “he is the most conspicuous one in this respect I have ever known.” Repeatedly, men and women are often mistakenly preoccupied with the position as opposed to the person in back of the position. Any study of leadership fails in this regard if a suitable distinction is not made between the public position and the person. It is a rarity indeed when one can witness the passion of a person fully expressed in a position, which is what is repeatedly found in the annals of history about Roosevelt. (This man was a leader in public and in private without regard to the position. And the connection between the person, passion and position is the most ideal expression of power.) Men and women like Roosevelt were not pretending. They were men and women of purpose-the greatest 7-letter word. So was the founding principal and president of Tuskegee (Institute) University, Booker T. Washington, who was a person of passion who served in a position of power that enabled him to fulfill a great purpose. Tuskegee University celebrates Mr. Washington in this the centennial year since his passing (1915-2015).
Brian L. Johnson, Ph.D.