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What is a Leader?

December 7, 2009

One of the things I enjoy about this blog is the dialogue created through the sharing of different ideas. I enjoy discussion, whether in person or in the blogosphere, and I can almost always find something to say. I find, however, that many times I learn more from listening than speaking. I was profoundly moved by a speech given by New York State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson this week, and I wanted to share it with any of you who have not yet heard it.

This speech was given during the senatorial debate over the legalization of gay marriage in New York state. Her sentiments about leadership and acceptance come from years of experience. The speech is only 6:28 long, and I believe her words will give you something to think about even if you don’t agree with her position.

“Whether you believe it or not, nobody elected me […] to be the moral arbiter of their decisions. But they did ask me to provide leadership. And in that leadership, I hope that […] if they pick me as the leader, then they must trust that the decisions that I help to make on this floor are about total rights for all of the people that I serve.” – Ruth Hassell-Thompson

One Comment
  1. alicia permalink
    December 7, 2009 9:52 am

    Thanks, this is a great speech.

    The outcome of the NY Senate vote on marriage equality wasn’t what I would have hoped but it did bring out the voices of some incredible allies.

    This speech by Senator Diane Savino is definitely worth listening to too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCFFxidhcy0

    One of the great quotes:
    “That’s what we’ve done to marriage in America, where young women are socialized from the time they’re five years old to think of being nothing but a bride. They plan every day what they’ll wear, how they’ll look, the invitations, the whole bit, they don’t spend five minutes thinking about what it means to be a wife. People stand up there before god and man even in Senator Diaz’s church, they swear to love honor and obey, they don’t mean a word of it. So if there’s anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades.”

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