A few days ago, Eric L Wattree, a regular on dagblog, posted about why he thought Barack Obama will be remembered as a great president. In the comments there ensued a discussion of who were the greatest presidents, whether Obama, Clinton, Reagan, or Carter will be remembered as great or ordinary, and what determines greatness in office.

With the death of Nelson Mandela, I couldn’t help wondering what an American president would have had to endure and accomplish to be considered in the same breath with Mandela.

Suppose Frederick Douglass, after escaping torture by the slavebreaker at Mt Misery, didn’t safely escape to the North in 1838. Suppose he had non-violently protested against the slavery condoned by the US government, then later organized attacks on US government targets. Suppose instead of being executed he had been imprisoned for almost three decades. Suppose he had led the antislavery movement from within prison, had been released after international pressure, had negotiated an end to slavery, avoiding the Civil War, then was elected US President in 1868.

For a black man to endure such a chain of events then bring about the end of white rule of a nation sounds preposterous, but that was essentially what Mandela did in South Africa.



8 responses to “Mandela”

  1. Invisible Mikey says :

    Reblogged this on Invisible Mikey and commented:
    SORRY FOLKS! I’m too busy in re-certification classes to write, but I can still read at study breaks. I found this simple statement breathtaking.


  2. trkingmomoe says :

    Very good point.


  3. artappraise says :

    you deserved the Dayly award, not me. 😉


  4. tintalasia says :

    Perhaps its’ worth mentioning that the rule of a nation was given to him and he was a criminal and he was a politician to the end… playing to what he knew the West wanted to hear, but he also had great wisdom. No, the two leaders can’t be compared, but Obama will be remembered by many for his own strengths.


    • Donal says :

      “Nelson Mandela was not a god, floating elegantly above us and saving us. He was utterly, thoroughly human, and he did all he did in spite of people like you. There is no need to name you because you know who you are, we know who you are, and you know we know that too. You didn’t break him in life, and you won’t shape him in death. You will try, wherever you are, and you will fail.”
      from Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel


      • tintalasia says :

        I’m glad you agree with me 🙂 [That’s presumptuous. I doubt that I agree with you on very much. I have deleted the remainder of the comment. Your first comment was polite, but this second one drifts into troll behavior, which I will not allow.]


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