On Thursday, December 3rd, President Obama stated the U.S. is safe from a Paris-style terrorist attack by ISIS, and that American law enforcement is well prepared ahead of the holiday season. With these new remarks, the president seems out of touch with the threats facing this nation and his response, or lack thereof, is proving to be increasingly ineffective. The latest attack, this time in California, has been attributed to ISIS. The Paris-style attacks have come to roost on our shores despite presidential assurances.

ISIS is using the technology we developed, such as social media, against us. They are pitting those at the very fringe of society, disenfranchised individuals and small groups dissatisfied with their lives or the world around them. Foreign terror organizations have found social media staples such as Facebook and Twitter to be incredibly effective recruitment tools. By utilizing this mass media outlet, they can digitally infiltrate our populace in a way that is nearly devoid of risk and at zero cost. The events in Garland, Texas, and more recently in California, attest to this.

The president’s recent statement on the readiness of domestic law enforcement is implausible at best and at worst, completely irrational. Law enforcement, for the most part, is ill-prepared for these threats, which can appear at any location at any moment. So unless we start placing dozens of tactical teams, around the clock, at every public gathering site and inserting surveillance teams on every residential block in America, a terror attack is inevitable. Furthermore, it’s only a matter of time before an attack similar in scale to Paris happens within our borders. ISIS is absolutely an existential threat, and the fact that our leadership has yet to execute or even propose a viable counter-strategy is unacceptable.

Not only is the Obama administration failing to answer America’s deadliest security threat since al-Qaeda, leadership in both parties are without an acceptable strategy. Liberals and conservatives remain intensely focused on the upcoming election, playing pin the blame on the donkey (or elephant). Meanwhile, America’s national security is left to ruin. Now more than ever we need a leader of epic proportions. If our past can be a guide, perhaps there is hope. Some of this country’s most powerful and inspiring leaders have risen out of intense national crises.

For instance, consider a man like Abraham Lincoln, who, from the moment of inauguration to his untimely assassination, tirelessly guided this nation through the bloodiest years in our history. Not only did he work endlessly to ensure a Union victory despite deeply troubling personal loss, he achieved the impossible with the passing of the 13th Amendment, finally finishing the work our founding fathers failed to complete.

Or consider a leader such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who introduced his New Deal, providing much-needed relief to countless American families during the Great Depression, delivering them from the grips of poverty and starvation. He provided steadfast leadership during nearly five years of global conflict until his death in 1945. All this while privately suffering from the debilitating effects of polio.

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Great men such as these are once in a generation, and politicians of this caliber are rarer still. It appears our nation has fallen into an age of apathy, of political mediocrity. We find American leadership imitating art, like the song asks, “Where have all the flowers gone?” These times of national crises find us in dire need of a leader willing to place their professional agenda behind that of national importance. A leader whose actions inspire, not just their staff-written speeches.

Our nation needs someone willing to rise beyond the political hype, a real leader with true depth of character and insight. A man (or woman) who not only performs under pressure but whose greatness of purpose truly shines. A leader of the same caliber as Kennedy or Roosevelt or even, dare I dream, like Lincoln. That is what this country needs to steer us out of this nightmare, a nightmare which was brought to us by many years of mediocre (at best) leaders within our government, leaders many of us put there either by voting or the greater sin of non-participation.

If we want a change, we must become that change, beginning with ourselves, starting by demanding more of those who seek to be elected to public office. Whether Democrat, Republican, or neither, the crises we face require far more from the leaders we choose. The answers we urgently seek, the response that meets the challenge, will be found in the leadership we empower. However, unless we start demanding more, much more, from those with the proverbial keys to this nation, our nation, the blame ultimately rests upon our shoulders as a people for the coming destruction. How will those we have chosen to lead be judged in the annals of American history? More importantly, how will we be judged by our children and our children’s children?

(Featured image courtesy of heavy.com)