Defining our generation
My teachers and mentors, as a generation, witnessed the assassinations of a handful of special leaders who were able to unite a great and diverse number people. They spoke about the pain of losing JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. With the recent tragedy in Haiti, I see a trend in which my generation bears witness to a number of massive disasters such as 9/11, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and Katrina.
A single event is able to capture the attention of people across the world. For the victims and their families that have lost so much, and for the public who sympathizes and demands answers, the natural direction to look would be a top political leader whose role is to protect them. Atop this stage, such a leader has the potential to become a voice that unites those who listen to their words, and follow their actions. They must reassure the public, walk among the victims, aid the victims, and demand a call of action out of charity and goodwill for those that are suffering.
The first priority of the world during tragedy is to help the victims. At this time the political leader works with the best that humanity has to offer. With each passing day, the priorities change, and the landscape of hope is soon replaced with frustration and cries for answers. Despite being brief, it is during these events where my generation witnesses the potential of the world to exhibit love and empathy towards our fellow human beings. In some ways, we are at our best, our most humane, when tragedy strikes.
What prevents us from making this same effort to solve the problems and struggles that societies around the world confront every day? It is my hope that one day there is a political leader who goes beyond the necessary role they must play during a disaster, and can achieve the greatest role: that of a leader who extends the energy of solidarity that unites us all far beyond the moment of tragedy.--Jimmy Duong
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