Politics Why an Obama Loyalist Is Speaking at Liberty University About Moral Leadership

Why an Obama Loyalist Is Speaking at Liberty University About Moral Leadership
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“We no longer expect our political leaders to tell us the truth,” he will certainly claim. “We no longer expert our political leaders to play by the rules. Our expectations of our political leaders have sunk so low we now accept from them personal behavior that would be unacceptable for our children, our students, our employees, or cadets, soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines under our military command.” He will certainly claim that “leaders too often seek to gain attention by pandering to our fears, our suspicions and our prejudices.” He will certainly point out the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would have them treat you. Treat others as you would have them treat your wife, your husband, your parents, or your children.”

“I wanted,” he told me, “to give that speech for some time now.” And he called Liberty “the perfect venue” because he thought it “would resonate with people of faith.”

Robert Hurt, the previous Republican congressman from Virginia that’s currently a dean at Liberty’s Helms School of Government, when we chatted recently definedJohnson as “a patriot.”

“A Homeland Security secretary who wants to give a talk on leadership?” Hurt said “We love it. And I would like to say his message is exactly what we want our students to hear, and they need to hear it.”

I asked Hurt whether he believed pupils could listen to in Johnson’s words a indirect rebuke of Falwell as well asTrump “I’m not going to characterize the leadership styles of other, you know, current and former leaders,” he said. “But my job as the dean of this school of government, and as a part of this Liberty team, is to bring to the students these kinds of opportunities. And then the students are smart enough to apply what they’ve heard in the way that they see fit.”

It’s certainly what 2 pupils I chatted to listened to.

Joel Thomas, a elderly biomedical scientific researches significant from Charlotte, North Carolina, was one of the pupils in a little question-and-answer session with Johnson as well as also enjoyed an very early cut of the talk–as did 3rd-year legislation pupilAndrew Lopiano “Even though he didn’t specifically say, ‘I’m talking about the president of the United States or the former president here at Liberty,’” Thomas told me, “absolutely that’s something that went through my mind.” He anticipates numerous of his fellow pupils to have a comparable feeling. “It’s going to really hit home,” Lopiano said.

Might the expansive Liberty community translate Johnson’s talk as a subtweet of types of Falwell? “I can’t speak for them,” Johnson told me. “I was very upfront from the beginning of our discussions about what I wanted to discuss.”

And might they see it as a stricture of Trump?

“I’m not naïve,” he said “Certainly, many people will read it that way.”

Earlier this month, the first time Johnson as well as I chatted, it was hard not to take into consideration the reality that Americans remain in this with each other, in ways that can be unpleasant, as well as whether we like it or otherwise.

“My great-great-grandmother was born a slave in Lynchburg,” he said, “spent her entire life in that area, was a nurse, a midwife, and there’s a little excerpt from the local paper when she died—you know, thought well of, worked for rich, white families. And she’s buried in an integrated cemetery in Lynchburg called the Old City Cemetery, which is a really beautiful place, but she had no headstone. Her daughter, who was half white, my great-grandmother, is buried there, too. And what’s interesting about that is they’re buried within a stone’s throw of Confederate soldiers.”

Proximity, connection, commonness– these were styles Johnson conjured up 3 years back, also, when he as well as Falwell in fact shared airtime on “This Week” on ABC, in August 2017, in the wake of the lethal rally for white preeminence in Charlottesville.

“Sometimes,” Johnson said throughout that program, “people have more in common than one might realize. Like Mr. Falwell, I’m an attorney. Like Mr. Falwell’s father, Reverend Falwell, my great-grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher born in Lynchburg, Virginia. My great-grandfather was born a slave in 1860 in Lynchburg. He was freed by Abraham Lincoln when he was a child. He taught himself to read and write. He put himself through school, and he founded a church called the Lee Street Baptist Church, in Bristol, Virginia, in 1890, which is still there.” Johnson also made use of the system to try to talk straightto Trump “I would encourage him, through his words, to try to … not just speak to his base, but to speak to all of America,” he said. “He’s the president for all of us in this country.”

Last November, Johnson gave a speech to the Lynchburg phase of the NAACP, as well as the News & &Advance sent a reporter Hurt checked out thearticle And he gotten in touch with Johnson to determine his interest in coming to talk to pupils at Liberty.Johnson excitedly approved an invite.

But this past springtime as well as summertime,(* )resume the college at the start after Falwell agitated to the pandemic as well as of racist images, tweeted began Johnson ideas. to have second me, referring “And so I called Tim Kaine,” Johnson told the legislator from to that would certainly Virginia been have’s vice head of state. Hillary Clinton, that verified the nature as well as the discussion Kaine his advise, of as well as offer thetold Johnson to go ahead speech him. “‘Bernie Sanders has been there. Ted Kennedy’s been there. I’ve been there,’” Johnson said Kaine told began composing. “And I said, ‘All right. I’m there.’”

He.“And it was one of those speeches I wrote in like an hour. It just rolled right out,” he said, that resides in

“I knew what I wanted to say.”

Johnson,New Jersey invested the component better day atof a Liberty did He Q&A session directed a priest with by a little a pupils, socially distanced as well as concealed. group of an additional collection To legislation as well as federal government pupils, of lecture he gave a battle powers. on the focal point But his of university time on the was regarding management, which speech provided he in to a camera workshop, developing the recording pupils will certainly see today not in the typical convocation a due facility pandemic-related methodto but by logging on live comments will certainly be gone along with His as well as by pictures regarding his information background in the location, as well as family asked also music he was–to select where “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” attracted ideas he basic at as an in Morehouse College.Atlanta me.

“It was just a really interesting exercise, you know, crossing the bridge,” Johnson told, “There was nothing overtly political about the whole visit.”

Except, there of course, particularly was currently. right so And at Friday right here’s what they’ll listen to.Liberty will certainly claim,

“For me,” Johnson.

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