Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“Behold the Man!”

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“He is the first black man to be president of the United States; a man of dignity, integrity and quiet confidence.

He is not the first president with African blood in his veins. At least three others preceded him in office.

He is a good man, a family man and a learned man, a man of deep resolve, great intelligence and quiet confidence.

He is a man who knows the meaning of pain and what it means to heal and to be healed.

He is “a strong man getting stronger,” in the words of great poet Sterling Brown, not a “hollow man or stuffed man whose headpiece is full of straw,” in the words of the great poet T. S. Eliot.

While not serving his country perfectly, he has served his country purposefully.

He has not cowered in despair nor scorned the night, for he is “acquainted with the night,” in the words of laureate poet Robert Frost.

What more can you ask of a man?

He has kept the faith and fought the good fight.

He has lost some battles but has kept doing right for the least of these, the most of these and all Americans.

His head has been bloodied but is unbowed.

Seared by the fires of hell, he has not created a permanently hell-bound country.

He has aged. His hair has grayed. His gate has slowed, but he remains resolved to keep serving his country, to keep doing right by his country and to carefully pass the presidential baton to the next man who will lead this country.

He is not a coward. He is not a shirker. He is not a hater who stands in the way of himself and his country by always blaming others and putting them down to feel like a man.

He is not a lover of his own ego and not an idolater of his own race though he loves his own people and has compassion for all of the human race especially those suffering indignities and injustice. 

He is not a man who avoids a good fight and believes that might only sometimes makes right.

He has not waned from the work to which God and the nation has called him.

He has not fled in fear from an opposition which has damned, scorned and stalled him from a greater work for his country.

He has not shaded his responsibilities or abandoned his duties though he has nuanced his words and given to us freely.

He is a better man than all of his detractors. He is more of a man than they will ever be in keeping trust in liberty.

To recognize a man, one must be a man. “Iron sharpens iron.” How can I acknowledge you the man who stands before me without first accepting the man who is perhaps in me?

What is a man?

Like Camus’ Jean Baptiste Clamence, he is not afraid to look in the mirror.

Unlike H.G. Wells, “Invisible Man,” who says, “It is amazing what you can get away with when you don’t have to look in the mirror,” that is not his credo.

He gives his all that we might have all, shuns the fleeting glories, avoids the paltry pettiness, and precludes all pretensions to vainglorious, self-aggrandizing wickedness.

He is a man who acknowledges his mistakes, redeems and re-charts his course because he knows that God forgives and also permits U-turns.

What is a true man?

A true man has first conquered himself; a true warrior’s mantra is to care for his family and community and nation and to have compassion for all people.

The true warrior is one who masters first the fear of himself, who masters his fear and hatred of others and does not aspire to the dastardly ranks of cowards who die a thousand deaths or pay feigning tribute to their shadowy, pristine figurines of manhood.

What is a man?

President Barack Hussein Obama!

Behold the Man! “


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