Samantha Power steps down as negative campaigning steps up

I already mentioned that Samantha Power was one of the few people at the TED conference to make a political statement of any kind, in support of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. It didn’t go down particularly well with the TED crowd, and now some subsequent words have got her into trouble. After The Scotsman newspaper quoted her calling Hillary Clinton “a monster”, she has resigned as an advisor to Barack Obama.

She clearly made a terrible error of judgement and frankly it’s a shame. Her perspective and experience are so important and it seems so strange for her to resort to name-calling. She clearly has opinions, but she’s a seasoned professional, familiar with the media and the ways of “off the record”, so I’m somewhat confused by the gaffe.

In her talk, she talked about the flourishing anti-genocide movement, and was fascinating in putting it into perspective as an “endangered people’s movement” that had been missing from humanity at the end of the 20th century. She flagged the “genocide rating” system, prompted by the many student-driven organizations that have focused on the issue, as a fresh way of driving governmental innovation.

“The lesson of the anti-genocide movement is that if we want to see change, we have to become the change,” she said, echoing the mantra of her then-employer as she concluded her talk. “We can’t rely on institutions, [or simply] talking to adversaries. We have to bring a combination of humility and an emboldened sense of responsibility.”

Seems like in this instance, her boldness got the better of her. Shame.

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