Sunday, September 28, 2008


Since I became aware of the senator from Illinois back in 2004, when he made headlines for his speech opening the Democratic National Convention, I have believed that he is the John F. Kennedy of my generation. There is a subtle poise, a grace and humility about the man that bespeaks the kind of character I have hungered to see in a national leader. I have also wondered if it's possible that America Herself would recognize that leader when he or she came along, having been force fed a diet of sound bites and petty schoolyard taunts and gibes.

I think I saw that leader in the debate last night. Obama treated his opponent with respect and gentility, even as his opponent refused to acknowledge him with even a glance. Even as his opponent spun lie after lie after lie about Obama's voting record and his position on the issues. He comported himself with dignity.

And here is an example, thanks to my dear friend Janice, of precisely why I want this man to take up the task of rebuilding America and restoring our good name in the global community:

Greenrose2 @ DailyKos wrote:
It came when Senator McCain was stumbling with Ahmadinejad's name. He was stumbling hard, almost unable to get the name or any semblance of it pronounced. Very quietly, but audibly Senator Obama can be heard saying something. In the first viewing, I knew he had said something there, but was unable to decipher exactly what he had said. In listening to the replay it's easy to hear his comment.

He quietly acknowledged to Senator McCain "That's a tough one." When I heard his remark, his gracious nod to the Senator's struggle to pronounce a very difficult name, his compassion for the man, I choked up. It humbled me. It made me briefly look inward, and feel lesser for originally maybe hoping that it was some cutting barb. And it showed him as a man greater than politics, greater for inspiring empathy and compassion for a fellow man.
When was the last time you had an intense, emotionally satisfying conversation with someone? When you felt as if someone was truly present and listening to your words, instead of merely waiting for you to stop talking so they can have their turn?

Can you imagine the power of making the leaders of Iran or from North Korea feel like they are truly being heard? Can you see now the true power of diplomacy and the absolutely vital necessity of meeting with these so-called "rogue" nations without pre-conditions? This isn't negotiating with terrorists. It's making the person across the table from you understand that you see them as a person. And that you have far more in common with them than the sum of all your differences.

Sen. Obama doesn't need to sneer at his opponent's missteps, as much as we might like to see him do what we might do. He understands that while Sen. McCain may not be qualified to be hold the Executive Office, he is a human being. He deserves to be treated with respect.

Imagine having a president who can not only lead, but who we can hold up to our children as a true role model.

No comments: