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Bagardbilla's avatar

Those who lead by example, & w/o pulling you along.

Harp's avatar

The Dalai Lama. This guy’s in an impossible situation: leader from exile of a small, peaceable people facing forced assimilation by one of the most powerful nations on Earth. He’s under constant pressure from Tibetans who have lost patience with his non-violent approach, and receives little actual political support from other world leaders, fearful of pissing off the Chinese.

The only thing he has going for him is the irrefutable strength of his character. Were he to ever compromise to the slightest degree his moral position, show arrogance, hatred, or power-lust, the world would drop his people’s cause in a heartbeat. His integrity is the only bulwark between his people and the abyss.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’ve always admired Vaclav Havel. He was a playwright in Czechoslovakia in the seventies who was loosely involved in pro-democratic activism at first. As he became more and more involved, he spent time in jail and was part of Charter 77. He became a moral leader of the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful overthrow of the Soviet-backed Czech government, then as President he oversaw a relatively smooth transition back to democracy and a market system.
What I most admire though, is that he could have led the country for decades. He could have given all contracts to his family and friends (like a lot of post-Soviet leaders did). But instead, he served two terms and moved to Spain so that he would be out of the spotlight and someone else can take over without being under his shadow.

galileogirl's avatar

Jimmy Carter. I have always admired him and his goals. He is a very intelligent man and understood that when you call for people to stop their selfish behavior and act in the best interests of society, you become a target.

While most people try to provide this leadership in their own sphere, it takes very special people whose sense of self is strong enough to withstand constant, unfounded, public, personal attacks.

Although there is some recognition for really good people, how does that weigh against the constant questioning of one’s motivations and ridicule of everything from a mispronounced word to minor physical features like a toothy smile. The final indignity is that if one is very effective politically and affecting change, they are likely to be murdered. We think of people like Ghandi, King and Robert Kennedy.

When President Carter was in a position to enable Middle Eastern peace, the leaders he brought together, Sadat and Begin, were actually murdered and Carter was politically “murdered” by a detente of American political opponents and Iranians bigots. Although his actions were for world peace, the media spun a facile story and the American public bought it. When there was a chance for a better world, we didn’t stand behind our leader and took the easy way out. We refused to accept responsibility and chose to scapegoat.

Fortunately the experience did not change his goals or spirit. He continues to work for a better world and uses his skills and abiities on both the local and global stages for the the least represented people.

steelmarket's avatar

Lech Wałęsa, for leading Poland out of communism.

SherlockPoems's avatar

Cardinal Mindszenty. He, who refused to compromise with the evils of Communism and endured 23 years of imprisonment and isolation. A Saintly hero indeed.

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