(CNN)—As a sense of mounting crises spreads and the 2020 election heats up, many Americans are asking: where can we find leaders who can guide us through these storms?
The answer, we believe, is in the same places where we have found them since the beginnings of the country: among talented young people who have already shown a dedication to serving others outside of politics. There must be a push, then, to recruit these committed public servants into politics at all levels and to prepare them for the rigors of elected leadership.
Think about the leaders who helped to forge our republic. Washington, Abigail and John Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton -- each of them knew the power of service from their own experiences building a new country.
Or think, too, of the young men and women who, steeled by service in World War II, gave back their uniforms after the war and took up new mantles to build and serve the country at home. Their years fighting for freedom and protecting the country prepared them to become our "Greatest Generation." They helped build the Marshall Plan, desegregated the Armed Services, founded the Peace Corps and constructed the conditions for peace and economic growth.
In our own day, we once again have a growing community of talented, aspiring young men and women who are exploring politics as their next step in serving America. Many wore military uniforms in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others come from peace-time services in AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps. All of them can bring needed unity and a country-first attitude that can rebuild trust in our politics and revitalize our democracy.
We know, too, that the leaders of the future may well look different from the leaders of previous generations. Our collective past does not reflect the strength that will come of a future political system reinvigorated with people of diverse backgrounds, reflecting the rich tapestry of America.
That is why a growing number of us who see the promise of today's servant leaders are coming together to form an advisory board and provide support for an organization called New Politics, which focuses on bringing leaders with service experience into public office.
The idea that drives New Politics is to prepare candidates, both Republican and Democratic who have already spent time serving in the military or national service such as AmeriCorps, to serve the country by running for office, by advising and training them on everything from leadership development to political strategy and the personal challenges of campaigns. Voters are hungry for candidates who have already shown their commitment to the common good and who are eager to advocate for their needs and priorities, and this sort of preparation is invaluable to fulfilling that wish.
We have both spent our lives at the intersection of service and politics. David has served as an officer in the US Navy, as an adviser to four US presidents, and as a teacher to some of our nation's brightest aspiring public servants.
Michelle has spent her career leading some of our nation's foremost national service and nonprofit organizations, such as Thousand Points of Light and CARE USA, and ran for the US Senate herself. We've seen the best of our nation's politics and its worst, and we know what real leadership looks like, in and out of politics.
It's not a coincidence that as the number of leaders who have served before entering politics has fallen, our government's effectiveness and trustworthiness have, too. There's something powerful and unique about service's ability to shape a leader. As Dr. King said, "Everyone can be great, because anyone can serve."