Thread Rating:
  • 6 Votes - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
09-11-2011, 11:36 AM
Post: #1
Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His


"The strength of a man
isn't in the weight he can lift.
It's in the burdens
he can carry...
"

During a job interview, a question frequently posed to the job-seeker is, “What are your weaknesses?” That question is not asked in order to reveal weaknesses per se, but rather as a way for the interviewer to assess the strengths of the applicant based on the revelations the answer offers. The right response is never, “I have none,”  since we all do.

For the past few months, I have read and heard that our President is weak and doesn’t stand up, and has a habit of caving. This claim, in fact, has been a topic of political conversation for some time. I have reflexively rejected this  judgement, but I hadn't fully analyzed why until now.

I do ask myself  how ironic it is that the strongest black man on the world stage today would be described as a weak man by his critics. But rather than denouncing the name-callers simply out of hand, I’m compelled to examine the meaning of this pronouncement and its intent. Are those critics correct in their assessment? What is weakness and what is strength? And who has it, and who doesn’t? What’s the measurement to arrive at such an adjective, one that is either a mean-spirited  put-down or is the unfortunate truth? How do we judge?

In a society where George Bush was seen by many as forceful, strong and resolute for refusing to negotiate with his foes, and for treating his domestic opposition without respect or due conscience, I can understand why seeing the opposite behavior from the next President could be interpreted as mild, weak and caving. However, does that really make it true, or have we been conditioned to make such analysis without a full understanding of the seriousness of our indictment? What is true is that Mr. Bush and President Obama, although both have borne the title of President, are each as different from the other as night is to day.

George Bush grew up in privilege, while Barack Obama didn’t. George Bush was the product of a solid, long-lasting marital union; Barack Obama was not. One had a successful father to emulate; the  other, a father who was vaguely distant. One grew up deeply rooted, with a feeling that he belonged, while the other continually adapted to situations of constant change. The fortunate son had everything that money could buy, and the less fortunate had to make do with being as resourceful as he could be. One could hail a cab just like that, while the other might just be made to wait. One man woke up each morning fully aware that the world was his oyster; the other went to sleep knowing that the world would not be surprised if he failed at life. These are some of the reasons that make these two men different, but they still don't  answer why one would be described as strong, while the other one would be called weak.

Strength in character comes from the ability to prioritize what is truly important for the greater good, even when facing opposition from within or from with out. A man who truly cares and tends to his family, while loving his wife madly, is a man who loves strongly. A man who, against all odds, succeeds in obtaining the best education that this country can offer shows strength in determination. A man who rises from nowhere to the highest position in the modern era demonstrates a strength that is undeniable. And yes, a  black man with a funny name who dares to win the Presidency of the United states must have both absolute courage and fearless audacity.

But strength is not a subjective feeling that we each get to define, not really. In actuality, what strength represents has been known for years. Here’s a list (these days political folks hate lists, and that’s really too damn bad). I’m including it here because we need to read it:
Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge: Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge
1. Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things.
2. Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; exploring and discovering.
3. Open-mindedness [judgment, critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; weighing all evidence fairly.
4. Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one's own or formally.
5. Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people.

Strengths of Courage: Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external and internal
6. Bravery [valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; acting on convictions even if unpopular.
7. Persistence [perseverance, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles.
8. Integrity [authenticity, honesty]: Presenting oneself in a genuine way; taking responsibility for one's feeling and actions.
9. Vitality [zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated.

Strengths of Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others
10. Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated.
11. Kindness [generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, "niceness"]: Doing favors and good deeds for others.
12. Social intelligence [emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself.

Strengths of Justice: civic strengths that underlie healthy community life
13. Citizenship [social responsibility, loyalty, teamwork]: Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group.
14. Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others.
15. Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same maintain time good relations within the group.

Strengths of Temperance: strengths that protect against excess
16. Forgiveness and mercy: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful.
17. Humility / Modesty: Letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.
18. Prudence: Being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.
19. Self-regulation [self-control]: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one's appetites and emotions.

Strengths of Transcendence: strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
20. Appreciation of beauty and excellence [awe, wonder, elevation]: Appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life.
21. Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful of the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
22. Hope [optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it.
23. Humor [playfulness]: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side.
24. Spirituality [religiousness, faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose, the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe.
When reading the qualities that enumerate personal strength, I note that  many are qualities easily seen in Barack Obama. As the President of the United States, the President's team is the American people. In this country, he is the leader who, while using his various strengths, acts as the head of our representative democracy. He is to appeal to us, and to offer up his solution to our societal issues. He is not supposed to tower over us while dictating loudly what we shall do. He is not our father, or a tyrant, and if he demonstrated such a capacity, it would not be the strength we seek. He is to negotiate the best position for as many of us as he can under circumstances that we can only imagine but oftentimes fail to appreciate. That is his job.

“This ain't fun. But you watch me, I'll get it done.” - Jackie Robinson

Look, Mr. Bush was never called weak, although he has been called many things. I personally perceive him as an ideologue and a bully, and although many might think that bullies are not weak people, that is not true.

Myth: Bullies are tough people
Truth: Bullies are weak, cowardly and inadequate people who cannot interact in a mature professional manner and have to resort to psychological violence (and, with child bullies, physical violence) to get their way. Only weak people need to bully.

The person who made the observation I quote below was a relatively ordinary guy not known as a deep thinker, and yet even he still got it.  Some will not be impressed with Alex Karras, as  he was only a  football player who later became an actor. But his words make sense, and that is why I end with them:

“It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them,
more strength to relate to people than to dominate them,
more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex.  Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.”

Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top

Post Reply 
Messages In This Thread
[*]
09-11-2011, 11:39 AM
Post: #2
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
Outstanding work! Bravo

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

Benjamin Franklin
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 11:50 AM
Post: #4
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
(09-11-2011 11:39 AM)NJMaverick Wrote:  Outstanding work! Bravo

Thanks! I think it was an apropos subject for today considering what some are seeing on their television screens today.

Rome wasn't built in a Day,
this shit didn't happen overnight, and 30 minute sitcoms are only on TV!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 11:45 AM (This post was last modified: 09-11-2011 11:47 AM by stingo10.)
Post: #3
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
Joan, Excellent job. I was reading the NYTs and everything about PBO is negative. DeFazio from Oregon, Sherrod Brown, Maureen Dowd and a big article or two about what a failure the president is. I am sick of it. DeFazio basically said he has completely lost faith in Obama. Sherrod said he needs to get nasty with the repugs. There seems to be a feeling that if PBO is considered weak it will hurt these critters from congress. Enough! I am mad as hell, and I am going to fight these naysayers.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 01:45 PM
Post: #7
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
(09-11-2011 11:45 AM)stingo10 Wrote:  Joan, Excellent job. I was reading the NYTs and everything about PBO is negative. DeFazio from Oregon, Sherrod Brown, Maureen Dowd and a big article or two about what a failure the president is. I am sick of it. DeFazio basically said he has completely lost faith in Obama. Sherrod said he needs to get nasty with the repugs. There seems to be a feeling that if PBO is considered weak it will hurt these critters from congress. Enough! I am mad as hell, and I am going to fight these naysayers.

I am sick of it as well. There is not one other person in the political arena today with more strength, or focus, or heart than this president. He has my gratitude for all he has done so far and my total support for all he will do in the future. And all the naysayers should just stop clinging like weights to his coat tails. The man is brilliant. DeFazio?? Who is he? The man who might be hoping for assistance putting out his own fires soon, if not already? Don't lose faith, Mr. Defazio, if things get too bad President Obama will give you a hand.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 12:37 PM (This post was last modified: 09-11-2011 12:39 PM by Peacetrain.)
Post: #5
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
President Obama was exactly the person nearly everyone in the Democratic Party.. and most of the left was asking for. After 8 years of my way or the highway.. people were begging for someone who could listen to both sides.

He is not a pacifist..he said he was going to get Osama.

He said he would try and work with all sides to find common ground.

The world was so tired of the cowboy politics that they gave him the Nobel Peace Prize because he espoused a different way.. a different venue..

People got 98% of what they wanted.. and not getting that other 2%.. some who value purity of cause over what can be accomplished, became disenfranchised and have joined forces with the right to remove him.

Many have definite differences with the President.. and rightfully so, I do too.. and then there are those who have a vested interest in having him out of office.. that is where the problem is.

Edit to add... excellent op Joan!

Thoughtful responses are the first victims of partisan passions.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 01:03 PM
Post: #6
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
Calling a Black Man weak like that, without anything more than subjective rationalization are fighting words, IMO! Especially to those in the Black community. I've been married to one for 27 years, and I'll be damned if some Maureen Dowd piece of entitled nothing is going to tell me who is weak and who is strong.

Rome wasn't built in a Day,
this shit didn't happen overnight, and 30 minute sitcoms are only on TV!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 01:52 PM
Post: #8
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
I think many outside of the blather bubble find the President's steady-eddie approach to all things a refreshing change from the rootin'-tootin' fake cowboy, with us or agin us bullshit we endured for eight miserable years.

Excellent piece Joan, thank you so much for posting that.

Julie

To prepare for when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's fun to watch.

Runningamok
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 08:31 PM
Post: #9
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
Wonderful piece Joan. People have forgotten common decency and equate it with weakness. They are fools.

#NMP
My President is Barack Obama.
#TheResistance
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-11-2011, 09:00 PM
Post: #10
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
(09-11-2011 08:31 PM)jaxx Wrote:  Wonderful piece Joan. People have forgotten common decency and equate it with weakness. They are fools.

Dangerous fools at that!

Rome wasn't built in a Day,
this shit didn't happen overnight, and 30 minute sitcoms are only on TV!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-12-2011, 04:11 AM
Post: #11
Redit link......please rate it up....
http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comme..._weakness/

It's a Reddit link to Get Smart News that provides a paragraph and then links to DFP! Smile

Rome wasn't built in a Day,
this shit didn't happen overnight, and 30 minute sitcoms are only on TV!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-12-2011, 08:38 AM
Post: #12
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
Ignorant people often confuse courtesy and tact in others with weakness.

[Image: DFP_logo.PNG] "This Is A Big Fuckin' Deal."
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-12-2011, 05:13 PM
Post: #13
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
Absolutely brlliant writing./communicating. Thank you so much.

Misogynist Republican man-pigs want to destroy the country's fragile economic recovery 'cause they can't get their woman-hating rider attached to the budget. Disgusting. – TINS
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-13-2011, 04:46 AM
Post: #14
RE: Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His
outstanding piece, Joan!!!

thank you so much for that! you are so thorough in your work! thank you for that, too!!

(i missed it till now, sorry. :facepalm )

[Image: signature.php?uid=16]
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top
09-13-2011, 04:51 AM
Post: #15
had trouble with reddit link, so here is another:
http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comme..._weakness/

to vote this up!

thank you!

[Image: signature.php?uid=16]
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply Return to top

Post Reply 

Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)