Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He Earned It

President Barack Obama
Expressing my happiness concerning the President's re-election:

The system of meritocracy: to work hard, to do a good job, to be acknowledged and rewarded for your efforts. It has made this country great. It is the basis of our continuing freedom. 

Barack Obama's re-election says many things, but above all he speaks to "the better angels of our nature." He is to our times what Abraham Lincoln was to the 19th century, for surely we are at a similar crossroads in the history of mankind. Our nation has been chosen to carry liberty forward; this requires a clear eye, open mind and unflagging compassion for our fellows as well as all other species on planet Earth. 

Let us never forget the sentiment expressed in our 16th President's Inaugural Address as our fractured Union faced "the second American revolution." It is simple, beautiful and ageless. 

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."


A job is a task undertaken with a desired result in mind.  It can be as simple as peeling an apple or as complex as directing the construction of a transportation network.  To "do a good job" is to be present in your work, engaged and respectful of the labor, the laborer and the environment in which it is done.  

Our nation has been chosen to carry liberty forward.     

England's Sir Winston Churchill is said to have had a gargantuan ego.   A story I read describes a tongue lashing given his long time butler Charles Rudd.  Lady Churchill, who witnessed the display, questioned how her husband could justify treating his dear and trusted family employee with such disrespect.  Churchill replied (and I paraphrase liberally) "I am a great man!  I am here to do great things.  At times Rudd forgets that."   

I think certain individuals are chosen for greatness.  They are born to a place and time, and then, as Malcolm Gladwell describes in "Outliers", develop into the individual the position requires. 

The United States has been referred to as a grand experiment.  The nation's abundant natural wealth and its unique political system have allowed an ever expanding citizen population to exercise individual autonomy.   We, as a nation, have carried this ideology forward.  Let us hope this mission is now insured another few years!