The United States is looking for leadership. Donald J. Trump was finally forced to admit that President Obama was born in this country and is a legitimate commander in chief. Hillary Clinton regrets calling “half” of Mr. Trump’s supporters “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” now suggesting that fewer are “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” Mr. Trump makes deplorable racist, sexist, xenophobic and Islamophobic comments, but it is unwise to assign the sins of a candidate to Americans you hope to lead. These depressing developments reveal character and judgment to consider along with crucial differences in temperament, experience, knowledge and policies.
In searching for leadership, I have found it not on the campaign trail but, ironically, one floor away from my office at Georgetown University. I had known that Jesuits owned slaves in Maryland, but that realization went from a footnote to a headline when I read last April on the front page of The New York Times:
“The human cargo was loaded on ships at a bustling wharf in the nation’s capital, destined for the plantations of the Deep South. Some slaves pleaded for rosaries as they were rounded up…. But no one was spared: not the 2-month-old baby and her mother, not the field hands, not the shoemaker and not Cornelius Hawkins, who was about 13 years old….”
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