Pretending to Be…


Waxing Poetic…
January 11, 2008, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Pretending to be a Writer, Pretending to be an Activist

Of the many reasons why Obama should become president, I feel this is his greatest strength: When he speaks, people not just listen but actually take it into their hearts and minds. Here is a little of what he said at the NH primary:

We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

If you look back at the all great leaders in modern time the one thing they have all shared is articulate, emotion stirring speech. To get more specific, the greatest of our presidents have been gifted with speaking to the people. The greatest of them all arguably, Abraham Lincoln, had the ability to transfer his words into hope.

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”

Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland” April 18, 1864

The gift of mediation, to effectively communicate while at the same time connect with the audience.FDR and JFK also shared his invaluable gift. I think it is impossible to lead without the seamless communication between the one individual and the people. Mind you, the people are a group of over 300 million in America’s case. The greatest speech’s of all time don not share a single theme except the ones of oppression, hope and change. Martin Luther’s “I have a Dream comes to mind. The theme? In times of oppression he gave gave and enacted change. Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches” during the second World War where a surrender of England seemed imminent.

we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender

England, June 4 1940

Again in times of oppression, hope is given that promises change.
How can a nation not be uplifted when their leader speaks of courage during abominably hard times? Although words can be hollow the effect it has on people should not be minimized. JFK’s inaugural speech also comes to mind: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but but you can do for your country.” Hope and change. Also does FDR’s many radio broadcasts during the Great Depression. He went on the radio everyday to speak to the people. Now do not think I am comparing these men’s achievements and accomplishments in any way to Obama, who has yet do anything. But in this society where the President is a figurehead and representative of 300 million people and an envoy for the world, an individual must have this gift. And in my lifetime I have not witnessed a president speak where I took the time to respectfully listen. Maybe it’s because I am grown up now. But I do not think its that.

Yes we can

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