Friday, December 06, 2013

Fullbore Friday

When he was reported to be very sick earlier this year, right after there was a false report of his death, I typed out a post about Nelson Mandela but never published it. Reading it now, I've decided it is way too long and unfocused. No, he deserves much better than that.

I remember very much watching one of his first speeches after he was released from jail. When he started to quote your standard issue Marxist blather, I sighed and turned the TV off. I thought it would all unravel from there, but something happened.

As with truly great men, he was a thinker with an open mind. Where lesser men would have seized power and with Zimbabwe-like destruction destroyed economic potential in orgy of revenge - he didn't. Where even worse men would have enabled a slaughter of the former oppressors - he didn't. Where almost every other possible leader in his part of the world would have seized power as President for Life and just let South Africa become another sub-Saharan hell hole - he didn't. He had the wisdom to know when he might be thinking the wrong thing, brought in smart people and was willing to learn and change.

He took power. He did not take revenge. He compromised between his friends and those who once imprisoned him, and did the best he could to steer his nation in a positive direction.

Some of his people were not that great. Many of the people who followed him were not that great, but that isn't the issue.

Sometimes you have the right man in the right place at the right time - and he does the best he can. Then, in the face of all human nature - he lets that power go and gives the nation he gave his one life to a chance. Not a guarantee, but a chance.

In that light, there is only one other person that from an American world view one can really compare Nelson Mandela to - George Washington.

Mandela had a long life, a good life and by any measure - one that no one else could have replicated with such honor. Well done sir, rest well.

1 comment:

Over-the-hill Spook said...

Speaking of a sycophantic press, right on cue the WaPo 'honors' the recently departed with this crap:
Mandela’s cause shaped Obama’s political awakening

"Entering his sophomore year at Occidental College, Barack Obama sought a political movement to match his personal awakening, which he signaled to friends and family at the time by reclaiming his African first name.

Barry became Barack that year. He had read Du Bois, Fanon, Malcolm X — an array of authors writing about the black struggle for liberation in his country and in others shaking off the legacy of colonial rule around the world."

Simply disgusting.