There are many decent public speakers, a few good ones, the odd great speaker, but exceptional speakers are very rare. I will not deny I can sometimes be critical of those trying to convince, and lead through spoken word. Today, an exception spoke again in a new role.
The exceptional leader-speakers are those that can fluidly combine personal interaction while keeping the attention of millions. They are effortless and exuberant at the same time. They combine leadership, with camaraderie, and mesh calm clarity of simple purposes with passionate grandiose ideals. All the while, they are not in front of us, they are actually with us. Very, few people can hold these qualities of leadership, let alone leadership and speaking ability.
In the past when watching Obama I was reminded of Clinton, and felt him drawing on King. While those influences are no doubt still there, there were signs today that his own growth, and now presence as President may come to walk beside these influences. I claim no political affiliation. I feel my country’s citizens should care more about leadership at home than always looking south. However, I cannot deny this man, like MLK, and many others before him, represents hope, and I’m big on hope.
The full speech is below (I like how the sound has crowd noise, and has a bit of a crackle to it – much more real, like how it might have been like there). Yet first, a few lines that stood out to me, either for their quality, or the message they send to the world:
Willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves…. [that is] a spirit which must inhabit us all.
America is a friend to each nation.
We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
We have chosen hope over fear.
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