Sunday, November 30, 2008

Destroying One's Enemies

"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
Abraham Lincoln

During the course of my life, among the most telling signs I've noticed that suggest I'm confronting a small or petty mind is when I see someone who exhibits jealousy or hostility in the face of ability. On the other hand, one of the most telling signs I perceive when dealing with someone who is gifted is the ability to recognize and appreciate talent in others...adversaries as well as friends. Over the years, this has led me to conclude that one of the signs of a great leader is the ability to turn adversaries into allies.

History shows that Abraham Lincoln was quite comfortable bringing his rivals into his administration: though the crisis of the Civil War may have made him think he had no real choice, a petty mind would have viewed them as political threats, to be kept at a distance.

Today...facing his own country in crisis...President-elect Obama seems to be exhibiting the same level of comfort in calling upon opponents for help. Though it's too early to tell if this is a real similarity, or simply posturing by someone who's studied and admired Lincoln, lets hope it shows a depth of character lacking in our leaders in the recent past.

In the end, though, only time will tell....

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

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