What a Difference a Leader Makes in Crisis
That sounds like a leader to me.
Landrieu, a scion of an old political family, took the courageous step of taking Confederate statues down this spring. In a surpassing speech, he said, "I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing."
He called on New Orleans to "choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong."
The new mayor of Baltimore followed suit without the speech. Catherine Pugh had four Civil War statues removed overnight this summer. One figure was Roger Taney, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court who authored the hateful Dred Scott ruling that blacks, free or enslaved, could never be citizens.
But in Virginia, where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was master of a slave plantation called Arlington, the nation witnessed a Robert E. Melee.
The shocking Charlottesville bloodshed claimed the life of a civil rights activist, Heather Heyer. This was never a peaceful rally round the Lee statue. Armed Confederates, or white male supremacists, came to hurt people, and many counter-resisters were badly beaten.
What did the police do? Too much of nothing. The clashes were too violent.
What did the mayor say? Not much. Poor Michael Signer has no power over the police chief and the city manager. He was vexed, understandably, that he was blocked from the city command center. He found no words people needed to hear. His own synagogue was not protected by police.
Charlottesville leadership choked in an hour of crisis. Houston's mayor is not finding meaning in the flood, a takeaway lesson learned for the future.
Mayor Landrieu showed us what's all about, words and music.
What a difference a president makes. We Americans are all in that crucible together.
To find out more about Jamie Stiehm, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.