With the just generally depressing outlook that seems to be coming out of this election I thought I would take a small break and take a look at some of the fictional Presidents / Leaders that we have seen over the years. In particular I want to look at some of my favorite fictional leaders, most of which I have seen on the small and big screen. Now this list does not necessarily have to do with policy, but is more about how confident they made me feel that they were a successful President. This also is not exclusive to the United States, but includes anyone who is the Leader of a large diverse nation, state, or group that is on scale with the president.
Jed Bartlett, The West Wing
I absolutely adored The West Wing, it was such a great look at being in the White House and what it meant. Through many seasons the show explored the idea of political compromise and integrity. Bartlett knew when to stand the line and when to compromise. I also appreciate that he knew the history of this country in a way that made you trust that he really understood what the Office of the President stands for. Honestly ever since I have seen this show I have wished for a President with the principals and the integrity of Bartlett. He made some mistakes that I am not sure that he could get away with, but in general he always held himself with dignity, class, and honor.
Laura Roslin, Battlestar Galactica
Now this is an example of a leader who did not expect to lead, but ended up thrown into the ring when everyone else died. She became President of the Colonies after the Cylons attacked and she just happened to be in space at that time.
In her first act as President she had to stand up to Captain Adama to think of the people that they could save, instead of thinking about the war they could fight and lose. She had to lead a group at a time where everyone was on edge. In times of plenty it is easy to lead, but leading during a time of less is the hardest thing to do and she did with her head held high.
Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day
President Whitmore in Independence Day is put into an impossible situation. The Earth gets invaded by Alien spaceships, but they do not just attack immediately. Instead they are hovering over the Earth with no seeming malice. As any world leader do you attack not knowing what they are capable of or do you try and figure out how to reach out?
I can understand why you would take a beat with the situation, but when he is provided with updated information he takes action. Then when it is obvious that the situation is all or none, he rallies the troops, and does not just sit back and send them out, but goes out himself. He had served before and in a time where everyone counted he stood up and put his life on the line for the planet.
Leto Atreides, Dune
Duke Leto Atreides was a leader that was respected and beloved. He instilled an immense loyalty in those that worked for him. Part of the reason that Baron Harkonnen hated him so much is because everyone else loved him. They were complete antithesis to each other.
Leto Atreides did not seek out power and just wanted to take care of people. He used his power to help those around him. The Harkonnens ruled through fear and intimidation because all they wanted was power. It is always great to see a leader that seems to truly care about the people that they are leading.
Now this list is by no means comprehensive, but it starts to show some of the qualities that we want in a leader. A leader needs to care about all those that they lead. They should be able to compromise, treat everyone with respect, and be respected by others. They should be able to lead through loyalty and not fear. Who are some of your favorite fictional leaders?