When did all this media-hype start? There was a time when leaders were elected because of their experience, wisdom, education and knowledge. Think of Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle. Today, neither of them would probably have been chosen because of their looks. One was a bulldog, the other a tall, gangling Toby jug. But, without their true, real capabilities, what would have become of us all? So, my message is simple. Whether you're currently living in France, as we do, in the UK, the US or anywhere else in the world: don't choose your leaders by the glossy image fed to you by the media. Delve deep inside to see the essential person beneath. Are they intelligent enough? Educated enough to be able to weigh the balances of conflicting strife around the world and come to a reasoned solution? Personable enough to be able to talk with humility and understanding to those less-fortunate? Clever enough to debate the issues tactfully with leaders from entirely different faiths and backgrounds? And, above all, if you live in a land which is a super-power: would you trust your leader to have the strength not to push that fateful button on the bomb that will annihilate us all! I can do no better than quote Rudyard Kipling:
"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; ..
If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools; ...
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!