Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” President Obama’s leadership in the face of tragedy

March 23, 2012

When tragedy strikes Americans turn for solace and wisdom to their President. When Challenger blew up Ronald Reagan comforted and inspired us. When the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed Bill Clinton grieved with us. When Congresswoman Gabby Gifford was gunned down along with nine others President Obama helped the whole nation understand.

Now America is riveted on the killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch person. The killer has not been arrested a month after the shooting, and the media are in World War III mode. Protests spread, and a million people have signed a partition calling for the shooter’s arrest.

President Obama addressed the nation today. He first explained that, as head of the Executive Branch he has to take care not to prejudice any investigation. He can’t call it the murder it appears to be. Instead he calls it a tragedy, and says how it relates to him:

“But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Two ethicists consider Gov. Rick Perry, the audience at the Republican debate, and the death penalty

September 13, 2011


Jack Marshall raises an interesting ethics issue here, as he does so often in his Ethics Alarms. This time it’s the conflict between empathy and justice. He explains how the Golden Rule can get us into some uncomfortable ethical conflicts. He writes,

‘Empathy is considered an ethical virtue for good reason: it is at the core of the Golden Rule. A person without empathy is less likely to put himself or herself in the other person’s place. The criminal justice process, however, is not a good fit for the Golden Rule. In the place of a guilty criminal, I would still probably want to be pardoned, set free, and given a second—or third, or fourth—chance to be law-abiding.”

Marshall defends Gov. Rick Perry’s answer at last Wednesday’s Republican debate to moderator Brian Williams’s question whether Perry was troubled by the idea that there might have been some innocents among the 234 people executed while Perry was Governor. After the audience cheered the grisly tally, Perry answered:

“No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which — when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, (more…)


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