"There's not a Red America, or a Blue America, there's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." ---Barack Obama, 2004

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What constitutes a Statesman?

"The times are too serious," says Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for President, as he described the tasks that lay before the American public in his acceptance speech in Denver.

Indeed. These times call for someone who can eclipse standard party politics. Someone who can progress our society. Someone who can lead our nation into the future.

The times call for a Statesman to lead us.

...but what exactly constitutes as a statesman?

By definition, a statesman typically involves a person who has served with a long career in politics...we're all familiar with the term Elder Statesman.

However, what can be said about an elder statesman before they're...um, elder? Is there something to be said about witnessing the development of a statesman in the making?

The following might shed some light on the matter, and you can decide for yourself.
  • Aristotle -- "What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions."
  • Harry S. Truman -- "A politician is a man who understands government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead for 15 years."
  • Henry Kissinger -- "The statesman's duty is to bridge the gap between experience and vision."
  • London's Evening News, July 21, 1960 -- "There will be need for a new word. Presumably, we shall have to call her a Stateswoman. This is the suffragette's dream come true." (On Sirimavo Bandaranaike's election to Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the first such woman leader in the world, though other women heads of state and government and other women political leaders had been referred to as "statesmen".)
  • Milton Friedman -- "One man's opportunism is another man's statesmanship."
  • Otto von Bismarck -- “I consider even a victorious war as an evil, from which statesmanship must endeavor to spare nations.”
  • Winston Churchill -- "A politician thinks about the next elections - the stateman thinks about the next generations."
We can probably all agree that these trying times call for someone with exceptional leadership abilities. Will a bona-fide statesman emerge as our new President? The next few months will give us an idea of who, and what, will emerge.

So, again, the title of this post begs the question...and again, we all draw our own conclusions. S

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