On Sunday Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both appeared in Selma, AL to mark the anniversary of the famed civil rights march there. Most of the press was around the hype of the simeltaneous apperance, and not about the substance of their visits.
The substance, however, revealed how Obama is truly a remarkable leader, none like I’ve ever seen before. Here is an excerpt from his speech:
One of the signature aspects of the civil rights movement was the degree of discipline and fortitude that was instilled in all the people who participated. Imagine young people, 16, 17, 20, 21, backs straight, eyes clear, suit and tie, sitting down at a lunch counter knowing somebody is going to spill milk on you but you have the discipline to understand that you are not going to retaliate because in showing the world how disciplined we were as a people, we were able to win over the conscience of the nation. I can’t say for certain that we have instilled that same sense of moral clarity and purpose in this generation. Bishop, sometimes I feel like we’ve lost it a little bit.
I’m fighting to make sure that our schools are adequately funded all across the country. With the inequities of relying on property taxes and people who are born in wealthy districts getting better schools than folks born in poor districts and that’s now how it’s supposed to be. That’s not the American way. but I’ll tell you what — even as I fight on behalf of more education funding, more equity, I have to also say that , if parents don’t turn off the television set when the child comes home from school and make sure they sit down and do their homework and go talk to the teachers and find out how they’re doing, and if we don’t start instilling a sense in our young children that there is nothing to be ashamed about in educational achievement, I don’t know who taught them that reading and writing and conjugating your verbs was something white.
Who leads like this? Who actually tells people like it is? Who actually points out voters shortcomings, and then challenges them about how they (and not government) can make things better? (The example here is specific to the black community but this is his approach across the board).
Really no one. No one that I’m aware of on either party. And policies aside, I’d support Obama on this simple courage and sincerity alone. (Plus I like his policies).
Why does our federal government have to be just about making promises to voters and then wrestling in DC to bring back the most loot? It does not, but that’s what it has evolved to. In the presidency there is more potential impact in moral leadership than there is legislative or executive actions. But it takes a courageous, principled, and inspired person to make it happen. And I think we’ve found one!