My mother and father’s family have deep roots in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born and raised in Cincinnati and currently attend the University of Cincinnati. I am a proud Cincinnatian and truly love the city. Few people however know the history of how Cincinnati received its noble name…
Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a Roman dictator and model of a true public servant.
As the story goes, in 458 B.C. Cincinnatus, an elected officer of the Roman Empire retired to the country to farm his fields after his tour of duty. The Romans however, were deeply involved in a brutal war with the Aequians and the future did not look promising. After losing several battles, the Roman Senate appointed Cincinnatus dictator for six months to help relieve the army of these threats. When Cincinnatus was approached about this appointment, he loyally accepted. He assumed the role of dictator and, within sixteen days, succeeded in helping the struggling troops. Once his task was accomplished, the humble Cincinnatus immediately returned to his farm.
The moral of the story is that Cincinnatus did not seek power but when needed by his country, he accepted the power and renounced it upon completion of his service. Cincinnatus is a timeless example of a true statesman and something our politicians should aspire to today.
Like Cincinnatus, there have been several American presidents throughout history that, at times, have placed the good of the country above their own self-interests. And, unlike Cincinnatus, there have been many who have not. Today, in our complex, well-organized two-party system, we have seen many recent presidents and presidential candidates exhibit loyalty to a particular party or special interest group as opposed to the American nation as a whole.
There is no doubt that in these tumultuous times today we need a humble, patriotic and honest leader like Cincinnatus but my question is, can a ‘Cincinnatus’ win in the upcoming 2012 election? Are Americans ready to vote for a candidate that is willing to make unpopular decisions for the best interest of our country? Could such a leader gain enough support to win amidst our two-party system?