Todd Akin, David Letterman and the dearth of true leadership

Better talk about Todd Akin now; cause he’s gonna be old news soon.

Congressman Todd Akin, Missouri

Republican Congressman Todd Akin is getting a lot of heat these days—for apparently stating how he really felt about the abortion issue. The problem was that he said it on national television, where he and all other politicians (regardless of party) are supposed to stick to their well-crafted, often-phony, script of talking points.

Since then, he has spent the rest of the week on his “apology tour” for his gaffe—which is anther word for telling the truth in public.

Of course, the comedians always have a heyday whenever this happens. And with Hurricane Isaac taking dead aim on the site of the Republican National Convention next week, they’ve all joined in the fun.  On Letterman Wednesday night, they reported that the approaching hurricane is no cause for alarm for the convention. That’s because, according to Representative Todd Akin,

“Florida rarely suffers damage from a legitimate hurricane.”

Neither candidate for President is talking about the most important issues in the world.

As for leadership. What’s the state of our leadership in this country? Not that great and not likely to get much better. That’s because our process doesn’t attract true leaders.

At a recent dinner party, somehow the discussion got around to politics—despite the best efforts of the hostess to keep the conversation on less controversial topics. Unfortunately, one of my friends felt victimized as she was the only one among the after-dinner lingerers who was supporting a certain candidate for President.

While walking down the street toward our respective homes, she told me how uncomfortable she was and that she really didn’t like to argue. Since I had been relatively silent during her “roasting,” she wanted to know what I thought. I told her that I was a registered Independent and that I made my decision based on my assessment of each candidate’s readiness, leadership skills, and integrity. Ultimately, I usually choose the  candidate with whom I would place the most trust. I voted Republican in 2004 and Democrat in 2008.

Not very many people would like to see either one of these two guys become president.

I added that unfortunately none of the candidates are talking about any of the truly major issues—in my opinion. Things like world hunger, global warming, the obvious answer to our health care fiasco or my favorite topic of late—the long-term sustainability of the human race.

As I told her, forget saving the planet, it’s the human race that’s in trouble. My friend was delighted with my assessment and said that she would sleep better because of my sharing it with her.

I went home that night thinking more on the topic of the evening. Presidential candidates always argue about the same short term issues that affect the most Americans: gas prices, health care reform, unemployment, social security, unpopular wars, and abortion. And that brings up poor old Representative Akin. As far as trust goes, I’ll just say that I wouldn’t trust him very far—and leave it at that.

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth—and the longterm sustainability of the human race.

For me, I’m trying to stay on point. As for the presidential candidates, I’m not revealing my choice today—mainly because I try to keep politics out of my blog. Shortly after I started this blog 566 days ago, I heard from a reader in the UK, saying that my daily blog was like a “relentless drumbeat.” I took it as a compliment and have been beating that same drum ever since.

And as long as I am alive, my drumbeat message will continue to be about promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth. And there is no doubt in my mind that a whole foods, plant-based diet for humans is a huge part of that process.

It works for our health, for the environment, for our ability to feed a projected 9 or 10 billion people by 2050, for fossil fuel conservation and for the two billion innocent animals that we torture and kill every single week for our dinner tables. It could also lower our cost of healthcare in the United States by around two trillion dollars.

You show me a candidate with that kind of message and he or she will get my vote. Unfortunately, my candidate wouldn’t get elected because that platform would not interest the short-term thinking masses whose support he/she must have to win. So where is the leadership that we need going to come from? It must come from people like you and me—people who are not afraid to take a stand. It’s starts by being the change you want to see in this world (Gandhi).

Meanwhile, life goes on in the wacky world of American politics. One ridiculous, relatively insignificant firestorm after another.  Yesterday, I heard the latest on the Mr. Akin story:

Akin apologized again in multiple television interviews on Wednesday for his earlier comments, but said he intended to remain in the race to be able to promote his staunch anti-abortion beliefs and to respect the wishes of Missouri voters.

“The people of Missouri chose me, and I don’t believe it’s right for party bosses to decide to override those voters,” Akin said. “It makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs, as opposed to the election process.”

Blah, Blah, Blah!

By the time our elected officials get it right about what we should be eating, you’ll probably be long gone. But you don’t have to wait for the politicians of the world. You can take charge of your health now.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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9 Responses to Todd Akin, David Letterman and the dearth of true leadership

  1. Jackie Pekar says:

    Excellent blog and comments. I am registered Republican, but had been Democrat for years. Not sure if the difference means much, but like you…I weigh the candidates issues and records and vote according to my own system as close as I can. Which isn’t too close from either party at times…but…if you don’t vote, you don’t get to make comments or criticize because you gave up that right.

    Keep beating the drum because we DO have bigger problems with our Earth and the human race. Why dosen’t anyone see that??? If we don’t work harder at fixing the bigger issue we won’t have ANYONE to vote for and we won’t be here, either!


    If “voted Republican in 2004” means approving re-election of George and Dick – who lied us into a “Three Trillion Dollar War” – this presents a problem in Credibility 101. WHEW. Give me a break!
    John Kerry, with all his faults, at least told the truth about Viet Nam – before it was fashionable.
    During Viet Nam, George Bush was mostly MIA (Missing In Alabama) as Dick dodged his draft.
    Those approving of the Cheney-Bush-Rummy wars will love what’s now likely: Attacking Iran.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m an UNREGISTERED INDEPENDENT supporting Dennis Kucinich.

    • Jackie Pekar says:

      You don’t get it, do you??

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Gerhardt, In trying to keep politics out of my blog, I simply stated what party I supported during the past two presidential elections. I said nothing about those who voted for the other party. I’m here to help us all promote the longterm sustainability of the human race, not to argue about petty, short-term focused politics. Best, Jim Hicks

        Petty, short-term focused politics? Holding public officials such as George and Dick responsible for criminal negligence at best – and systemic lying to citizens at worst – can not be reduced to “petty” concerns. Supporting one party or another wholesale has obvious problems. Some candidates in ALL parties are less bad than others. Ignoring the systemic sustained egregious wrongdoings of Rummy, George and Dick does NOT promote the sustainability of the human race. Critics of criminal conduct at the highest levels can not properly be dismissed as being “petty” or limited to short-term issues.The harm done to our country by George has EXTREME LONG-TERM ramifications. For basic background, search “True Cost of Iraq Invasion” for millions of relevant hits.

        Non-petty costs of George, Dick and Rummy’s wars cited at ANTIWAR.COM
        Ignoring issues does not make them “petty.” WE MUST START SOMEWHERE.

        One link leads to another. Reliable SOURCES AND LINKS:

        US Military Deaths by Month are nicely documented at
        Faces of the Fallen Department of Defense Central Command
        JustForeignPolicy Count BBC Figures
        Juan Cole Journalist Deaths in Iraq Cost of War

      • Jackie Pekar says:

        The point is that this is not a “political” venue. It isn’t as if anyone here (including the author) is disagreeing completely with you. Just the focus.

  3. T. Colin Campbell says:

    Love it!


  4. Linda201 says:

    David Letterman, last night: Hurricane Isaac is on his way to Florida. That proves God is a woman. And you’re right, Jim, Todd Akin is guilty of “letting the cat out of the bag” – his position on abortion is no different than that of the official republican party platform. Regardless of one’s personal feelings about abortion, it is just WRONG that a bunch of well-to-do white men are discussing what women can and can’t do with their bodies, much less being in a position to make LAWS about it. I’m incensed by this. These men (and a few women) are the same people who want NO social programs to help single mothers and/or children who happen to be in less fortunate financial situations than they are. The nerve. This isn’t about compassion for the unborn; it’s about contempt for women.

  5. Frances says:

    Your drumbeat is resounding loud and clear. I love it!

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