Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Am My Brother's Keeper

(from with Christian Campagne from BAM)

A gathering and presentation like this shows the astonishing authenticity of this man. These can be tricky waters for him, as his early Beer Summit and his more recent comments on Trayvon Martin have shown. Adversaries are always waiting for him to "play the race card": They want to hear him complain about institutional racism and how it prevents minority progress (presumably due to white prejudice and dominance); and they especially want to find ways he is trying to provide special programs and privileges for the "victimized" minorities, at the expense (presumptively) of whites. And we shouldn't forget the GOP trope that being your "Brother's Keeper" leads you into the dreaded territory of communalism and away from the sacred ground of becoming a "job creator". And, finally, there's the always lurking possibility that this will be one more Obama effort to enlarge the domain of Big Government at the expense of individual and family.

All of these needle eyes were "seamlessly" threaded. A bravura performance, and even Bill O'Reilly rose at the end to shake the President's hand.

But I want to highlight something else: the tangible, visible-while-invisible connection he establishes and demonstrates with Christian from BAM (Becoming A Man), and with all the boys/young men gathered behind him. Watch how the President listens to Christian's introduction of him, making occasional gestures or expressions, but mostly holding himself quietly, so the attention wouldn't shift from young Christian to him. Notice both of their movements and expressions when Christian tells the audience what the President had shared a year ago "in Circle" with the young men from BAM - that he had, in fact, goofed off from time to time in school. Notice the quiet dignity and diligence with which the President connects with each young man, including a touchingly long head-on-the-President's-shoulder hug with one boy, before he leaves the room.

This is pure Presence - being right here, right now, and nowhere else, with a Beginner's Mind and an Open Heart, focusing so completely that the small "s" self (the Ego, the Busy Mind) drops away, and Big Mind/Big Heart is what is there. The pure and utter Mastery of the Peaceful Warrior. Our President as Integral Leader.

And I haven't even talked about the program itself! Wonderful public-private partnership with multiple, and varying players, depending on the location (city by city). $200MM in new Foundation support, over and above the initial $150MM commitment. A great call to minority families, particularly fathers. And a powerful call to each young man present (and those watching at a distance) to personal responsibility and hard work.

In and through it all, we see and experience our President demonstrating great personal mastery.

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