Some people I know refuse to watch the news or read the papers these days, and who can blame them? The headlines are depressing and no one seems to be in charge.

The stock market rises and falls, playing "now you see it, now you don't" with your 401k, the Ebola virus is on the move, infecting more and more people, while the United States pretends there isn't anything at all to worry about.

ISIS, which is something to worry about, marches steadily forward, despite U.S. and "coalition" airstrikes, and Turkey, which has thousands of troops on its border with Iraq and Syria, refuses to help the Kurds repel these Islamic fanatics from further conquests.

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A look at a recent Drudge Report offered still more gloom and doom: "hackers plotting big banking hit." "Mexican government paying to help shield illegals in USA from deportation." "Mayor says monitoring thousands of extremists in London." "France facing unprecedented exodus." "We are reaching the end game in Europe." "Putin deploying nukes to Crimea."

In the U.S. we are drowning in political commercials, which are virtually the same as in previous elections. Democrats try to insinuate that all Republican candidates are against abortion, "even in the case of rape or incest," and Republicans seek to tie Democratic candidates to the president, whose approval rating, if one can call it that, has, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, fallen to 40 percent.

Perhaps the saddest campaign commercial of the season is the one Wendy Davis has been running in her longshot bid to become the next governor of Texas. The ad shows an empty wheelchair and accuses her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, who was paralyzed when a tree fell on him at age 26, of successfully suing the property owner, but working to deny other injured people similar success in court. Even The Washington Post calls the Davis ad "one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see." Mother Jones, a liberal magazine, calls it "offensive and nasty" and says "it shouldn't exist."

It's all so depressing and discouraging. The world appears to be falling apart and America resembles Humpty Dumpty after the fall, except we have no leaders to put it back together again.

The United States was once expected by much of the world to lead in wealth, might, technology and innovation. Today, China just eclipsed us as the world's biggest economy. President Obama appears so detached and incompetent that he can only make speeches, attend fundraisers and play golf at inopportune times. Meanwhile, he still promises to someday close GITMO and import more hardened terrorists into America where ACLU lawyers will likely seek to set them free. Now won't that be a legacy.

This list of national dysfunction doesn't even begin to address government's increasing intrusion into our privacy, heavy-handed police actions using military weapons and threats to the First Amendment.

John C. Maxwell, the motivational speaker, has said: "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."

Does anyone see someone who fits that definition?

Where have all the leaders gone? Long time passing.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.