“He belongs to the ages,” Obama said.
Today he’s gone home, and we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.
I assume Obama’s invocation of Edwin Stanton’s comment upon Lincoln’s death, Now he belongs to the ages, was intentional. Not sure how I feel about that.
Obama spoke of the inspiration he drew from Obama:
I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings.
The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.
Typically self-referential, but in this case, I think appropriately so. Obama, as the first black president is, like Mandela, an historic figure in the history of race relations. That he was influenced by Mandela is significant. Though of course, Obama overdoes it.