Great leaders overcome their angry impulses

Books have been written about leadership skills, but war leader and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had very concise advice:

“In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill.”

Magnanimity comes from the Latin root magn (great) and animus (generous). In other words, a person showing great generosity.

Goodwill is, of course, goodwill toward others, benevolence and kindness.

Which, unfortunately, is anything but what Lewiston Mayor-elect Robert Macdonald promised his opponents following Tuesday’s election.

An angry Macdonald told reporters and TV cameras he had been maligned during the campaign by “the machine” and alleged that rumors had been spread about his wife’s health.

“I bit my tongue,” he said, although Macdonald seemed to be doing anything but during the campaign.

“You know, I just won,” he said Tuesday night, “so I don’t have to be quiet anymore, and they are going to pay for this. They are going to pay.”

Although Macdonald expressed admiration for his opponent, the recently deceased Mark Paradis, he promised to unleash his revenge Thursday on the “sleazy” people working for Paradis’ election.

“I’ll tell you right now,” he told local residents and a southern Maine TV audience, “I’m not going to take this. I won. OK? I won; now they are going to feel the penalties.”

It is sad that our new mayor’s first impulse is to punish his enemies, rather than offer them the hand of friendship and forgiveness.

History is replete with examples of generosity shown by great leaders, even after long and bloody wars. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House is an inspirational example.

Grant’s terms of surrender to his former enemies were simple: Lay down your arms, take your horses and wagons and go home to your families.

As Lee left the surrender ceremony, Grant’s men began celebrating, but he quickly stopped them. “The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall,” he later wrote.

Many in the country were calling for the Confederates to be imprisoned or executed as traitors. But Abraham Lincoln and his government would have none of it.

It was a magnanimous and generous gesture that began healing a war-torn nation.

From U.S. presidents to small-town mayors, the most successful leaders are those who do not hold grudges and are determined to build bridges to their opponents.

Revenge and punishment are the impulses of petty people who play upon our fears, but who eventually fail and are never well-remembered.

Angry things are said during campaigns. Feathers are ruffled. But we must have the ability to come through an election, shake hands and work together.

Macdonald will have an opportunity Thursday to forgive anyone who slighted him during the campaign and to call for his supporters to do the same.

A mayor’s actual powers are few in Lewiston city government. One important role is serving as the public spokesman for Lewiston, its institutions and people.

This is a great city, built by strong people with a bright future. We of all people know that public images are hard-won but easily damaged.

With the Christmas season upon us, we hope our new mayor will find magnanimity in victory while promoting goodwill, peace and progress for his city.

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GARY SAVARD's picture

I think mayor elect Macdonald

I think mayor elect Macdonald is over the frustrations that resulted from an organized campaign by the local media and liberal democrats that made every attempt to insure that he wouldn't win this election. Even with the solid push by his opponents, playing all the cards in the deck that gave them an edge, Bob Macdonald won the election. The bottom line is that there are enough voters in this City that support Bob Macdonald's vision for moving Lewiston in a different direction and ultimately change things for the better. I suspect that Bob Macdonald will do some good things for Lewiston.

Jason Theriault's picture


Can you show some of these sources of local media pulling out all the stops? I didn't follow the election close enough to notice any of this rumor mongering or mud slinging.

That said, how is the mayor going to change things for the better? It's not like the mayor has tons of powers and resources to do stuff. Any real changes really have to come from the state level or higher.

Bob Stone's picture

Expect the best from Bob

I think the residents of Lewiston will be very pleased with the service they will receive from Bob Macdonald.

editoriaal on mayor's race

Well written Rex Let's hopefor the best!

AL PELLETIER's picture

Good points Mr. Rhoades

Lets not forget all the mud slinging that came out of the Hillary camp prior to the last presidential election. Today I think Obama and Hillary have made one hell of a good team regarding foreign policy.
Sure hope Macdonald reads your editorial and these post before he opens his mouth and makes an a-- out of himself.

Mark Elliott's picture

after democrats went on a

after democrats went on a four day bombing campaign of Bob and his family........he was rightfully angry.


Jason has it backwards.

Macdonald made the SJ's excrement list a long time ago. If the SJ is only now on his, Macdonald has already shown great generosity.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Great leaders overcome their angry impulses

. .thanks Rex , 11.12.14 09:35
There are many tru†hs .
1 ) No one has ever won a war in Afghanistan
Melé Kalikimaka /s, Steve and ohana

Jason Theriault's picture

Oh Sun Journal...

....You just made his list.


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