Last night, as I was watching and listening to Barack Obama, it occurred to me that there’s something to be said for having a poet at the helm. We have not had a poet in office since Kennedy, nor have we had a president who elicits, almost effortlessly, such enthusiasm for his words.
Obama, who was at a high school in Texas, began by answering a question he had not been asked: why was he running in this election? He is relatively young, and could wait. His answer was to quote Martin Luther King on “the fierce urgency of now.” Later, in answering a question about global policy, he quoted Kennedy, saying, “Never negotiate out of fear, but never fear to negotiate.”
In both instances, and in his overall delivery, he was in command of his words, as is a poet, and elicited an emotional response, as does a poet.
I am not climbing off the Hillary/Barack fence because of the poetry of this man’s message. But I am acknowledging the appeal of a potential Commander in Chief of Words.