Whom do you Trust - Really?

By Lynn Gerlach and Steve Leahy

We like to get together for coffee every few weeks and gripe about the state of the union, the pain of polarization, the danger to democracy, and the dearth of wise, open-minded leaders. We finally decided to do something positive about it: Together we assembled a list of thought leaders with whom we’d be willing to trust our democracy – with no concern for political affiliation or line of work. We simply listed individuals whose perspectives and judgments we’ve grown to trust, demonstrably respectable leaders who seem to us like true, loyal Americans. 

This isn’t meant to be a list of “who ought to run for office” or any such thing. Our goal is simply to mobilize Americans all around us to become proactive in an era of division and fruitless one-up-manship. So weigh in: If you could invite someone to help bring our country together so we can move forward in a positive direction, who would be on your list? 

We see it as a sort of “game” with serious intent. It allows you to do something POSITIVE without any negative consequences. Here’s how to “play”:

  • Read over the list.
  • In the Comments section below: 
    • Write the names from our list that would also appear on your list.
    • Suggest other names for us to consider. (We reserve the right to assent or dissent.)
    • DO NOT tell why someone should NOT be on the list; just leave that person alone.
    • If you don’t know who someone is, just skip that person. Eventually those best known and most trusted will rise to the top.
    • If you write anything we consider ugly or unhelpful, it will disappear.

(If you want your comment removed as soon as your "vote" has been counted, just contact us through this site, and we'll be happy to comply.)

What  started as an alphabetical list has now been reorganized according to how many “votes of confidence” each individual has received from America at large - and we'll keep updating it. We can all watch our list grow and develop. Visit the Speakeasy from time to time to see how it’s progressing. (Note that it might take us a few days to consider new names that have been suggested.)

Bill Gates

Madeline Albright

Michael Bloomberg

Melinda Gates

Dan Evans

Thomas Friedman

Bill Richardson

Anderson Cooper

Doris Kearns-Goodwin

John Kasich

John McCain

Warren  Buffett

Henry Kissinger

Christine  Todd-Whitman

Fareed Zakaria

Below, considered by some to be trusted thought leaders:

Noam Chomsky

Ronan Farrow

James Hansen

Claire  McCaskill

Bill Moyer

Peggy Noonan

Sam Nunn

Richard Painter

Robert Reich

Steve  Schmidt

Donna Shalala

Michael Steele

George Will

Below: Nominated as thought leaders, but not yet supported by anyone else:

Wallace Smith Broecker

LeBron James

Pramila Jayapal

David Jolly

Angus King

Evan  McMullen

Bill Milliken

Anne Mulcahy

John  Pepper

Alan Simpson

Charlie Sykes

Nicolle Wallace

What do YOU think? Please comment. We value all positive input. Every voice counts in a democracy.