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A Few Words about Samantha Power

Filed under: The Squib Report   Tagged: , , ,

A couple of days after the joy of Election Day, I suddenly thought of Samantha Power, and was cheered. You see, I was very fortunate to see Power speak about Darfur and activism at the New Yorker Festival in 2007, and her address made a tremendous impression on me, as you can see for yourself. (That post makes for interesting reading at this late date, actually.)

The thing is, in October 2007 Power was already entirely on board with the Obama campaign, a fact to which I made reference. She made light of the fervency of her advocacy for Obama; on a couple of occasions at the end of the session, she actually edited a questioner mid-query, so for example, if the question contained the clause, “what can the next president do—” she would hurriedly interject, “President Obama, yes, right,” and continue listening. It was funny, how committed she was, how obviously settled in her mind this question was.

It hardly needs saying that in October 2007, “President Obama” was a longshot—but maybe it does need saying that it was the early endorsement of people like Power that made him less of one. Then during the primaries she got in trouble for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” and had to distance herself from the campaign (when her very involvement was such a strong indicator of the sterling quality of an Obama administration), and that was upsetting. Fortunately, by that time Obama was far enough along that people said, “Well, Obama can always appoint her later….”

I hope that happens. Power is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever seen speak, certainly one of the smartest, and I sincerely hope that she becomes one of the most visible members of Obama’s cabinet—if not in a few weeks, then perhaps after 2012 (!).

But while I did think these thoughts in the last week, that’s not the reason I chose to write this post. You see, the TED conference has just posted a 23-minute video of Power delivering a speech about Sérgio Vieira de Mello, and alas! there is no existing video of that talk at the New Yorker Festival last year, so I thought it was high time to show all of you what I found so compelling about her.


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