I found myself on my ass on my high school's wrestling mat, which is an odd place to be if you're not on your high school's wrestling team. I had just tried to push a guy who was half my size. The following things were evident to me as I sat there in amazement: 1) I had seen enough cheesy kung-fu movies that I should have probably known better than to volunteer to try to push someone who bills himself as a master of T'ai Chi Ch'uan or any other weird martial art with which I'm not familiar.
2) Just before I found myself on my ass on the mat, I had the sudden realization that my own energy that I used to push the guy was somehow being absorbed and reflected back on me. Kind of like twisting a rubber band and then watching it uncoil. It's tough to describe. You had to be there.
3) The technique used to put me on my ass was very similar to the little slow-motion dances we had been doing for the past hour, just sped up.
4) It was embarrassing as hell, because I had nobody to blame but myself. I applied the force. Instead of pushing this tiny dude over, it landed me on my ass.
This ass-planting was part of what my high school called "Global Day." It was the first time I was actually exposed to Tai Chi. And I didn't really give it too much thought after that. But I was reminded of it last night.
Barack Obama is a Tai Chi master.
I saw the results come in last night. I saw Hillary's speech. Then I saw Obama's. It was no comparison. Hillary got planted on her ass.
And the best thing about it is that Barack Obama's strategy the entire time has been to let Hillary Clinton sow the seeds of her own destruction. He takes her negative energy and just reflects it right back on her, mostly by doing the right thing and taking the moral high road. In this way, not only does Hillary destroy herself, but Obama avoids being dragged down with her.
Hillary Clinton is now officially delusional. With the numbers and the clinched nomination an inch in front of her face, she still refused to admit defeat and concede. Primarily, it's this self-deception that turned me off to Clinton in the first place. I used to say that if she got the nomination, I'd vote for her. But months ago, I reversed myself after her behavior demonstrated that she's nothing more than a entitled, delusional, old school politician who has no capacity for self-reflection.
And she did it to herself. Last night's speeches were a great example. She continued to use her own brand of math to delude herself and others into believing that she's won the popular vote. She refused to concede. She came across as petty and non-statesmanlike.
Meanwhile, Obama praised Clinton for making him a better candidate, praised her supporters and then focused his lens right on John McCain and the fight ahead. My big takeaway was that Clinton taking her campaign all the way to the convention mattered pretty much not at all - Obama is taking his fight to McCain.
That's how Obama uses Tai Chi. He takes the high road. He lets Hillary be her own undoing. He doesn't let bickering distract him, and he realizes that actions define people rather than talking points. I'm looking for precisely that in a president - someone who understands that when a rival takes the low road, they have a tendency to destroy themselves with their own actions, and that this will eventually happen as long as one doesn't sink to the low road oneself. Taking the high road is one of the ways that people can inspire others.
Barack Obama inspires me.