Friday, June 4, 2010

Maybe Just a Small Hissy Fit Mr. President?

There's an interesting debate underway in regards to the president's reaction about the BP oil spill in the Gulf. His supporters say they don't need to see him scream and shout to know he's mad about the spill. His opponents say he needs to show more emotion, claiming his sense of calm gives the impression he doesn't care.

I'm torn.

I do believe the president,(like most Americans) is angry over this disaster, which is now expected to loop the entire state of Florida, and will likely involve the Atlantic coast by mid-summer. How could any leader not be angry over the destruction that the spill is causing? But does he need to kick and scream to make his point?

Not Really.

First, he doesn't have that kind of personality. He seems to typically remain calm, no matter what the situation, which ultimately is a great characteristic of leadership. Likewise, his getting emotional will not clean up one drop of oil any faster.

That being said, the other side has a point as well. President Obama seemed to show more excitement when Paul McCartney arrived at the White House recently, than he has at any point since the oil crisis began. He did delay getting involved with BP, and he does seem a bit too patient with the oil executives as they continue to make one blunder after another in their attempts to clean up the mess.

While one has to admire the president's ability to keep his cool, one can also remember the comfort brought by George Bush as he stood in the rubble in front of the World Trade Center vowing to make those who caused the damage pay. While it's been said that his show of emotion ultimately got us into two wars, I believe his display actually gave angry Americans someting to hold on to on the darkest day of our lives. A willingness to show emotion on that day, also showed a sign of great leadership. A true leader can show a sense of anger while keeping a clear head regarding his responsibilities.

While we need calm leaders, we also need to know that they care. There would be no point to President Obama throwing a hissy fit as the BP leaders scratch their heads over what to do next, but it would be encouraging to see him kick up a small fuss when yet another attempt at clean up has failed. The residents on the Gulf coast need to see that. America needs to see it. Ultimately BP needs to see it, so they feel a bit more pressure to get this clean up show on the road.

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