Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't Cry, Mr. Obama

Emotions can be a wonderful and dangerous thing. They feed our passions and it is our passions that get us into trouble. Witness Clinton with Lewinsky, Bush with Saddam—(he tried to kill my daddy), and Reagan with Iran-Contra.

Fortunately, for Obama, he has no such passions. The fact alone should keep his presidency relatively scandal free. Unfortunately, that fact, too, could doom his presidency to an uncommon sterility.

There was concern about all of those years Obama spent in Jeremiah Wright’s south side Chicago church, being exposed to “liberation theology” as Glenn Beck puts it. Not to worry. Obama is virtually unscathed by his years in Wright’s church. That was much more of a cultural experience—i.e., educational—than emotional and transformative.

Obama is unique in that way: he absorbs information like a sponge, but seems to remain unaffected by the clutter of its emotions. That is rare among African-Americans. For we are emotional lot—those emotions forged in the fires of slavery, and then banged repeatedly against the anvil that is Americas grand mosaic.

The other day, Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, while addressing his fellow countrymen, began to cry over the state of his war-torn nation. I was touched. And I wondered, in the face of such fierce death and destruction—whether suffered or meted out—that more leaders don’t cry, even our own pragmatic and dispassionate Obama.

Then I thought, no. Obama may be Vulcan. And as we know from watching Star Trek’s unflappable Mr. Spock, a crying jag could kill him.

No comments: