Note: I modified this from my personal blog because the President’s gaff was a big PR blunder. All the marketing literature says when you make a mistake – whether you’re a company exec, education or political figure, or even someone at the foot of the totem pole like me – you admit the mistake and go on with things. This little bowing blunder is a reminder that in today’s mightily networked world, you either fess up fast or suffer the consequences.
Dear President Obama,
You said during your campaign that as president you would make mistakes. You’re not perfect, you said. You’re human.
That’s all true, of course. But many, many millions of children and youth in the United States and around the world idolize you. You are bigger than life. To millions you are a super hero. You even have your own action figure.
You are a role model.
So don’t fib.
If you bowed to a king, say so. Tell people it was a sign of respect. You’ve talked a lot about respecting other countries and other people and most folks welcomed that new philosophy.
If bowing was out of place, then say “I made a mistake.” You’ve done that before and won overwhelming respect for the admission.
Now, when your people say you weren’t bowing, it opens the door to critics to lash out at you. It brings others to defend you and what suffers the most is the truth.
When I was a kid, Superman could do no wrong.
Today’s young people are more sophisticated. They know super heroes are flawed, and their flaws are what keep them human. But just as important as their unique powers is that they own up to their mistakes. If they can’t correct them, they at least admit to them.
If your bow was done out of sincerity and respect, say so.
The bow isn’t important except to mean-minded, frightened people who are terrible role models.
What is important to the next generation is the response following the action when you’re called on it.
Do what’s right in your heart. Then tell the truth.
Don’t fib and don’t let others fib for you.
Thank you, Mr. President.