Adina Levin reconvenes our conversation nicely:
Adina Levin (email, 1/29, 10:30am est)
There’s that, and there’s more. Reading the autobiography of Nelson Mandela… there were many people involved in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Mandela started as a lawyer and politican among many others in the movement.
What struck me about the book is the prodigious amount of care and thought Mandela took to think about the messages and tactics he was trying to communicate, and the effort to connect with the interests and cares of the different individuals and groups he was talking with. It makes for long and rather tedious sections of the book as Mandela creates and delivers and revises speeches, year after year. It’s like listening to Yo Yo Ma practicing five hours a day.
Following Mitch’s point, leaders emerge from a community, and they become leaders through the hard work of organizing and communicating with others. Television seems to change the picture. Television seems to anoint a leader — someone with a firm gaze and a strong jaw who says simple things over and over again to arbitrary questions. TV skills are important in a TV age, but we need people who have the first kind of leadership, sparked by a desire to change the situation, and honed by very deliberate hard work and practice.