A Man for Our Time

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Personal Growth

For all his shortcomings Barack Obama is an exemplary figure in our public eye. I first became aware of his value as a human being when I read his book “The Audacity of Hope”. As his campaign for President progressed it became more evident that the content of the book was only an introduction to his qualities. I am inspired by the public persona I am reminded of often.

Consider his saying “It’s not about me”. This was challenged by Jim Lehrer in an interview and Jim’s challenge certainly had merit from a political perspective. He brought forward the idea that the saying might be construed as a way of escaping the ownership of shortcomings. But in a personal way “It’s not about me” becomes a way of depersonalizing criticisms and a way of handling them without emotion and, most importantly, without rancor. This idea has helped me weather many personal attacks. In political discussions I am usually able to remain calm and not react with anger. Now, when I get angry at a politically orientated e-mail message I am usually able to react with enough reason, but passion, to generate a good response. Attempting to reread my missives without bias I believe I can attest to their quality.

His handling of his personal life is also a great model in temperance. He quit smoking to his credit, of course. But it was widely reported that his meeting with several young women when his wife was away in Spain ended without a hint of scandal; even though some of the MSM tried to project a sense of impropriety. Conversely, and maybe surprisingly, The Washington Times reported that he went home and spent the night alone. I say “surprisingly” because that newspaper is known for its conservative bent. A closer examination finds the conservative perspective only in its opinion pieces. Its hard news is as unbiased as any I’ve seen; and certainly more so than some sources that pass themselves off as fair and unbiased in their reporting.[1] The only other source I trust implicitly is The Christian Science Monitor. When I get swamped by news of an event, especially political, I go to it for a truly unbiased report on every important subject.

When I fall to temptation I am reminded of my limits and am careful not to rise to my level of incompetence[2].


[1] Consider the difference between bias and prejudice. S. I. Hawakawa proposes that no two words mean exactly the same thing.

[2] This concept is thoroughly detailed in his book “The Peter Pyramid” by Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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