Thursday 28 August 2008

Power of Our Example

Awakening to vision and audio

I was up last night as I always sleep with my television on, my dreams of sound and imagination just eases into the reality of vision and audio with the hope I have not arrived from a terrifying Steven King saga.

I prefer to sleep with news channels on rather than music channels, I do however remember a time I had the gospels playing back during me sleep, it sometimes made those stories and events alive and vivid.

Anyway, I got up to CNN’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention when Bill Clinton was about to speak.

Taking time to accept Obama

So much had been made of Bill Clinton being sour about Hillary losing to Barack Obama, he has been one of the most ardent supporters of his wife’s bid for the nomination and who can blame him?

It also took time for me to realise that Obama was at the head of a movement whose time had come rather than a motivator for a campaign to fulfil an ambition.

As Bill Clinton came on stage, one could see that that he was still well liked, there was lots of adulation and the ovation went on for minutes that he had to entreat the people to stop and sit down for business to continue.

The talk that matters

He finally got to say his bit and it was vintage Bill, the Democratic Party today appears to be blessed with at least three very prominent people who have found the key to the use of words to inspire people, the other two being Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Bill Clinton successfully linked the relationship between a strong America at home and a secure America abroad as he forcefully backed the candidacy of Barack Obama for President.

I have the feeling the Hillary Clinton might not make another run for the White House if Barack Obama takes the Presidency in November.

Example of our Power

However, what I found the most striking about Bill Clinton’s speech was when he said “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.” [1]

This subtle use of and juxtaposition of words speaks volumes, just as certain people would attempt to view the failings of Bill Clinton as a poor example of moral rectitude, the example of power he has portrayed has been for the good in many places.

The judgement call for Americans is the preparation for posterity and the beginning of history – it would ask if America would be viewed as projecting the power of example as to have become a civilisation in its own right or whether the example of power has made them no better than vandals, Barbarians and plunderers whose self-interest left the world in great turmoil as we have today.

Under siege or higher purpose

The weight of history need not fall on the shoulders of Americans today but the future that begins today provides a path that can make a whole difference towards the troubles America faces today – Where “the American dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened.”

Shall they and the American dream remain under siege with a continuation of the policies of the last 8 years or shall America’s leadership in the world be strengthened with the advent of a man who “has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose?”

A place called hope

That man was Bill Clinton 16 years ago and he has passed the baton today to Barack Obama; the alternative, for all intents and purposes falls far short of that higher purpose because the passage of time seems to have vindicated the measured and insightful views of Barack Obama than the belligerent machismo of John McCain on the war in Iraq, the timetabled withdrawal of troops and talking with Iran.

Being the most powerful country in the world, the responsibility that comes with that position is self-evident – the example of power has won wars but we are still in battles and the power of example has saved lives and won victories in the most intractable situations.

We have Bill Clinton to thank for articulating in words the clear purpose of the day and the duty Americans have to assure and safeguard their future and that of those after them by electing a man that embodies our hopes rather than one that accentuates our fears.


[1] Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton Speech Transcript - Democratic National Convention Speech Transcripts - Zimbio:

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