Featured Column
Week of 6.21.2004
The Penalty of Leadership
God Bless America
           Cadillac Motor Cars ran an advertisement in the January 2, 1915 edition of the old Saturday Evening Post. The purpose of the full page advertisement was to communicate the difficulties of being a leader in your field.
           The advertisement was published long before there was a Lexus or an Infinity. Decades before there were Escalades, Navigators or Hummers. The Cadillac Automobile still had plenty of good competitors. There were Fords and Chevrolets and Buicks and Packards, but the Cadillac, was venerated and admired as the class of the automobiles of the day.
           This advertisement, which was all copy (no photos of cars or pretty models) is still widely regarded as one of the finest documents ever written.
           What follows are excerpts from that 1915 advertisement. As you read along, try picturing America as the subject of the copy.
           "In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity.
            "Whether the leadership is vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work.
           "In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same.
           "When a manís work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few.
            "Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting.
           "The leader is assailed because he is a leader , and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership.
           "Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy-but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant.
           "There is nothing new in this.
           "It is as old as the world and as old as the human passions-envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass.
           "And it all avails nothing.
           "If the leader truly leads, he remains-the leader. 
           "Master-poet, master-painter, master workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages.
          "That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor or denial.
          "That which deserves to live Ė lives." 
          All around this planet of ours there are countries, ranging from the old and sophisticated to the rag tag that are jealous of all that America has Ė especially its freedoms. In some of these countries the leadership fears America because their citizens yearn for the freedoms Americans have and they tremble at the thought of losing their dictatorships, their power and their personal advantages.
           There is one more paragraph in the Cadillac advertisement that symbolizes Cadillacís leadership in 1915 as well as Americaís supremacy and superiority today:
           "Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done."
           We should all be proud to be Americans.
           God bless America.
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ronís career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ronís interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger