"Where have all of America's great leaders gone?"
They've been crushed by the masses.
It's not that great leaders themselves are crushed, for real leaders are never dominated by their environment. But the ability to lead is thwarted by the false reality of those needing leadership. What the masses perceive is what the masses receive.
I don't think that England would have survived World War II without Winston Churchill. Churchill, a man of principle, knew Nazi Germany presented an existential threat to western civilization. Churchill fought Germany on the basis of his principles, which fueled his courage, and ultimately forged an "iron will" in him and the nation he led.
When Adolph Hitler turned his sights on England, promising to bomb the English to hell and back, Churchill took to the airwaves on June 4, 1940 and gave his famous speech "We shall fight them on the beaches." He said,
"Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender.
And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”I believe that if Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other forms of social media existed in Churchill's day, one look by the masses of England at the bombed out buildings and horrific bloodshed of men, women and children in London during the 1940 London Blitz would have been enough to lead the English people to capitulate to Germany. Even with only newspapers and black-and-white photos of the Blitz available to the masses in 1940, the pressure by the English to relent and join European capitulation to Nazi Germany was intense. Had it not been for the great leadership of Winston Churchill, England and America today might be very well teaching their school children the German language.
Great leaders arise in times of crisis. Mass opinion, mass desires, and mass thought are not as important in existential crisis as are principles, courage and iron wills. When a nation is in trouble, great leaders lead because the masses become increasingly irrelevant.
This is why America's Founding Father's feared democracy. The Founding Father's knew that democracy prevents great leaders from taking the stage. The only principle that guides politicians in a nation dominated by the masses is "Do others like me?" The only principle that guides the masses of people in a nation dominated by democratic rule is "What has the government done for me?"
Only world war, world conflict, or unthinkable natural disasters give the needed opportunity for a new set of great leaders to arise - leaders who live by principle, courage and will. In those nations accustomed to domination by the masses, great leaders sit on the sidelines.
It seems to me that the path of the United States is spiraling toward worldwide conflict. The only good news from this prediction is that the door may be opening for a restoration of great leadership in America.