I finally broke down and made the effort to read both of Obama’s books. He’s a truly remarkable writer for a start. and they certainly appear to show his own hand despite the undoubtedly large number of ‘fact checkers’ and ‘assistant editors’ he may have had specifically with the second one. Whatever your political beliefs it’s hard to ignore the value of reasoned debate and a clear point of view expressed in a readable way. The views fit mine, as they do for most Canadians, but I was also pleasantly surprised at the depth of discussion and breadth of ideas they bring together.
The language and style are very engaging, although I’m a reader at heart, so they may not suit everyone. For a leader who exudes all five of the core leadership principles I promote, there is none better. I’m glad I’ve lived to see a truly logical, sane individual in what many consider the most powerful office in the world. I have to express surprise that a political system as much criticized as the US has been able at last to put someone of his mental caliber in the role. As Churchill observed, ‘democracy is the worst political system except for all the others.’ Sometimes it really seems to work visibly.
It’s just a shame that so many of the most vocal individuals we elect are not up to this level. Of course, the even greater shame is that the efforts and abilities of just one person are likely to be mostly thwarted by the rest, though I believe the effort still pays off in the long term by establishing ideas that won’t ever go away and someday will see action. I’m a great believer that we don’t give politicians enough credit for the good struggles they attempt and the tremendous efforts and goodwill most of them bring. Unfortunately getting consensus on consistent directions is notoriously difficult at best among so many varied interests and opinions. and often it seems like two steps back to one forward. Nevertheless our humanly flawed leaders have produced some great societies for us to live in.
Regardless of whether specific policies never get passed in the welter of competing interests, I think Obama has already given the world a gift – a logical, well-argued set of objectives that will undoubtedly be quoted far and wide for years, perhaps centuries, to come. And his very human struggle to come to terms with his own life and place in the world are.