Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Leader who Inspires

The Obama Factor

President Obama and Taoiseach Kenny today in College Green
In a previous post in these pages I reviewed Deepak Chopra's book on leadership, The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking your potential for Greatness (Rider, 2010) where that author outlines the qualities of Leaders as an acronym of that very word as: Look and Listen, (ii) Emotional Bonding, (iii) Awareness, (iv) Doing, (v) Empowerment, (vi) Responsibility: Responsible leadership means having the courage of one's convictions to "walk the walk as well as talk the talk!" and (vii) S = Synchronicity: This is a hard concept to get one's mind around, and it was one very close to Jung's heart, and one which I discussed in these pages before where I defined synchronicity as the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally inexplicable to the person or persons experiencing them.  All of these qualities Barack Obama has in abundance.

To say President Obama can give a right good speech is an understatement.  I remember listening to President Bill Clinton give an equally powerful speech in the same venue, College Green, way back in 1995.  It is widely admitted that this is the first speech of the Obama campaign for his second term of office as President of the United States.  He pressed all the right buttons and had the throngs of people eating out of his hand from the start.  I viewed the speech on TV and was singularly impressed by the US First citizen, as were the crowds who listened and cheered.

Addressing a crowd of up to 60,000 people at College Green in Dublin early this evening, Mr Obama told his attentive and captivated listeners that never has a nation so small inspired so much in another.  He went on to state to tumultuous applause that "Irish signatures are on our founding documents. Irish blood was spilled on our battlefields. Irish sweat built our great cities"


President Obama signs the visitor's book while wife Michelle looks on!
"When we strove to blot out the stain of slavery and advance the rights of man, we found common cause with your struggles against oppression. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and our great abolitionist, forged an unlikely friendship right here in Dublin with your great liberator, Daniel O'Connell," he said.

Like PresidentsClinton and J.F.K before him, not to mention Ronald Reagan, Mr Obama is now not just an honorary Irishman but a real one.  To rousing and tumultuous cheers he introduced himself as: “Barack Obama, of the Moneygall O’Bamas. I am here to find the apostrophe that we lost along the way”.  With these words the crowd was his!  This was no mere rhetoric!  No it was really meant as anyone who watched his visit to the little town of Moneygall in County Offaly can attest to.  The hallmark of a true orator is his/her convincing sincerity and humble passion about what he/she is saying.  Real orators are authentic and congruent individuals to use terms used in psychotherapy and counselling.  These qualities are the qualities of such great leaders and orators like Martin Luther King (my favourite orator of all times!), Pope John Paul 1, Bill Clinton, J.F.K. and now the current great leader of the United States of America: the one  and only Barack Obama, of the Moneygall O’Bamas. who was in Ireland  "to find the apostrophe that we lost along the way”.
He thanked the crowd for extending him a warm welcome: "Thank you to the citizens of Dublin and Ireland for the warm and generous hospitality you have shown me and Michelle. It certainly feels like 100,000 welcomes. We feel very much at home. I feel even more at home after that pint I had. I feel even warmer." "In return, let me offer the hearty greetings of tens of millions of Americans who proudly trace their heritage to this small island. They say hello."

Once again as a regular speaker and long time teacher of the Gaelic language I was thrilled at Mr Obama's correct use and wonderfully precise pronunciation of "Is féidir linn," the Irish for his long standing catch-cry "Yes we can!"  In this use of our first language, which itself carries a weight of history, both positive and negative, both profoundly happy and  profoundly sad behind its very words, he was connecting with the historical sense of identity we Irish have.  He also told his listeners in Gaelic: "Tá áthas orm bheith in Éirinn" which translates "I am delighted to be in Ireland."  Like the Queen he won his Irish audience over with what we call the "cúpla focal" or "the few words" of our ancient Gaelic language.

Like all good orators President Obama connected with the crowds swelling the Dublin streets and with all his listeners and viewers in Ireland and indeed abroad.  Admittedly he wishes to kick-start his campaign in hopes of getting a second term in The White House, but no one, not a single soul,  could doubt the sincerity, the integrity, the passion and the authenticity of this wonderful world leader.  As an Irishman I would like to proclaim loud and clear to the citizens of the United States that they possess a great leader and wonderful human being as their head of state.  The world needs such leaders; such strong leaders who can give hope to their hearers; who can inspire their listeners not to give up on their dreams for the future; who can call on all to keep right on going, to persist in their hopes; who can empower others to believe in themselves; who can not only talk the talk but walk the walk and who values commitment to shared values and ideals as being more important than mere worldly acquisitions or wealth.

Finally it was indeed refreshing to see so many young Irish people in College Green to greet the President of the United  States. 

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