By Alex Lancial
As I sat down and watched President Obama’s speech for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I couldn’t help but notice certain similarities between Martin Luther King and our president.
Both are very eloquent speakers, both realized that this nation can do better. 50 years ago Martin Luther King sparked change in civil rights, inspiring the people to do better by ending segregation and giving equality to all. In fact, I do believe it was the power of his speech that did this, which raises an interesting point that great speeches made by charismatic leaders will inspire change.
I do not believe that this change would have been possible without the leadership of Martin Luther King. Without his inspiring words, the people may have never found it in them to make a change. That is what a true leader does, in my opinion. A true leader inspires change, whether it is through the words of Martin Luther King or the actions of Nelson Mandela.
While listening to the president speak it was easy to see how far we have come. The simple fact that we were listening to our first black president was just an example of that. But he explained that we still have more to do, just as Dr. King did. He explained that we can do better.
I feel as though many people believe leaders are people that change the world. I do not dispute that, but I opt for a change of rhetoric. Leaders are people that inspire change in the world. That was Dr. King’s leadership style, that is how, in my opinion, the President tries to lead, and that is how many leaders choose to lead.
They realize that the burden of creating change in the world does not fall only on their shoulders, but the shoulders of the entire population. Martin Luther King was a leader that realized this, and called on concerned citizens to make a change.
It reminds me of a quote that Margaret Mead once shared: “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
A great leader realizes this, and realizes that a strong impact can only be made if people work together. It is the leader, like Martin Luther King, that inspires that change in people.