Barack Obama is one such leader, who has shrugged off the countless critics of his policies, beliefs, causes, and decisions because he is not a man who can be talked out of his ideals. He is one of the most honest and genuine politicians to enter the arena in decades, and while other experts might think that a relatively inexperienced politician would be crushed under the weight of party pressure and media attention, he has shown himself to be stronger and wiser than his years would hint. Every politician has their enemies, as well as their downfalls, and Obama has not been above question, and not every choice he makes is the right one. However, his intentions are honorable, his beliefs are transparent, and his way of addressing the people of the United States is straightforward, inspiring, and sincere. Pundits have said that idealism won him the presidency in 2008, while sheer determination won it for Obama in 2012.
I don’t disagree with those classifications. His idealism was something refreshing, young, and desperately necessary to inspire the voting body within 335 million Americans to shake off their despondency and disinterest in politics and take control of their own lives once again. There has been a growing culture of political mistrust and corruption in the United States that has kept a historic percentage of people away from the voting booths in recent decades. The idea that change is impossible, and that all politicians are the same has been one of the reasons for the breakdown in morals and accountability in American politics. Somehow, Obama was able to inspire a record-breaking number of people across all demographics to come out and vote, whether it was for him or not.
This inspirational form of empowerment is why charisma is such a powerful attribute for a leader; it doesn’t just compel people to follow you, it makes them want to be more like you, to embrace the same concepts that have shaped you as a person. In a sense, a charismatic leader that is a sincere believer in what they are saying becomes more of a religious figure or a deity than a leader. Obama developed a fervent following of admirers similar to those found outside of the Vatican on Easter Sunday, or even like the screaming hordes of fans in the front row of a rock concert. The majority of Obama’s supporters, especially the most vocal, were not what you would normally expect at a political rally, to say the least. He achieved a sort of cult or rock-star status, because his battle for the presidency was not about two politicians duking it out over who would be the better leader.