Abominable US leadership and Pushing for Change: Madeline Albright, Barack Obama and the Stoics

Susan J. Megy
4 min readJun 2, 2020

I just listened to Tim Ferris’ podcast interview with Madeline Albright.

Albright reflects on leaving office as America’s first female Secretary of State when one interviewer asked how she wanted to be remembered. She writes:

“I don’t want to be remembered — I am still here and have much more I intend to do.”

When I finish listening, I feel optimism and dread in parallel. Optimism and inspiration for women like Albright; strong, doers/thinkers who love America and what it stands for, who are confounded by where we are going as a nation. Dread from that deep-in-the-gut sense of loss about the world we are becoming — the world the ensuing generations may likely inherit if we don’t do something.

What happened to the City upon a Hill that was America as a beacon of hope for the world?

The lights in America have been shut off. That shining beacon of light that once was — is now hidden behind a barrage of malicious tweets. Rather than supporting all Americans, these tweets promote Americans turning our backs on one another. They push to divide, not unite.

In these vexatious times, I wonder where is US leadership hiding?

Under Trump's watch, the US is experiencing the worst public health crisis since 1918, the worst economic crisis since 1933, and now mounting civil unrest after the 1968 MLK assassination.

Trump’s dispassionate if not malevolent, reactions have fanned the flames across a tragically divided country. Apart from his base support, Trump has cultivated zero public goodwill from which to draw. In fact, based on data accumulated over the last four years of his presidency the Washington Post deems Trump the most “the most mendacious president in U.S. history.”

Indeed, the death of George Floyd has jolted communities in small towns and large cities alike. As I write this from the heart of Chicago, I hear the continued squawks of police sirens. More looting and rioting. Small explosion. Gunfire.

People are angry. People are frustrated.



Susan J. Megy

Works in countries not on tourist lists. Humanitarian + storyteller. Defends the oppressed. Loves Stoics, Sazeracs & shotgun houses.