How to be a leader, how not be a leader
And so it was that the wheat was separated from the chaff when America’s leading politicians, President Barack Obama and the leading Republican candidate Sarah Palin gave their thoughts to the nation about the attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and those killed and maimed by the gunman Jared Loughner.
Given the media back lash at the toxic rhetoric from America's Right, including Sarah Palin’s 'gun sight' targeting of Democrats that included Giffords, that was seen by many to incite violence, Palin felt compelled to answer her critics and put her side about the tragedy on national TV.
But to many people’s amazement the former Governor used the address to talk about herself as much as she did the nations hurt. At one point she used the term ‘Blood libel’ against her accusers. This was seen as particularly distasteful given that it is a well known term used against those who blame Jewish communities for the death of Jesus Christ. Congresswoman Giffords is Jewish.
A few days later President Obama travelled to Tucson to give a memorial speech to those who lost their lives and those still fighting for theirs. The contrast in the two leading politicians could not be greater.
For thirty-minutes Obama never once spoke about himself, but rather the specialness of those who the gunman had killed or injured; from the couple who had been together for 50 years, to nine year old girl, who in her short life had been a high achiever.
But in an extraordinary tribute he also thanked those individuals who wrestled the gun-man to the ground before he reloaded. He spoke as a true leader, heart-felt and sincere, and in the process brought America and humanity together.
Over the last few months a powerful political machine has attempted to portray President Obama as the nation’s worst nightmare because of his social reform agenda. But in Tucson Arizona, Obama had a platform that could not be manipulated by his detractors. Thus Americans were reminded why they elected the first African-American President. Because he is special.
Picture: President Barack Obama greets Mavy Stoddard and members of the Stoddard family following a memorial service at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center in Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 12, 2011.