So I guess what everyone’s saying is true:  the world lost a giant today.

Unfortunately, I found out about the death of Nelson Mandela at 6am this morning when I turned on the television to see a truly absurd moment in world history, and a perfect illustration of U.S. arrogance in the face of a truly humbling event.

Al Sharpton, one of the most vile and divisive figures in modern US history, critique the career and comment on the significance of Nelson Mandela, one of the most unifying figures in the history of humanity, as a civil rights and world leader.  Although absurdly ironic, it is interesting to see what the small people have to say about the big people.  I had the same feeling as I watched Barack Obama deliver yet another lame, divisive, gravity-free speech from the Lincoln Memorial 50 years-to-the-day after the Honorable Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.  Again, small people talking about big people.

The first thing I thought about was the summer of 1995 when I found Mandela’s book Long Walk To Freedom. 

My book today
My book today

I spent the entire summer reading and contemplating the book.  Most know the facts.  Born into royalty, gives it up to fight for truth and rights, jailed for 27 years, misses the funeral of his eldest son and mother.  A life too brutal to even put into perspective.  So I will not attempt to do it here.

But I’m sad.  I’m real sad.

I know South Africa and much of the world is celebrating a real giant, a true gift from God for all humanity.

I wish I felt that way.  There is less hope in the world today.

In my opinion, he is the greatest mortal who ever touched the earth.  Period.

Men like this are not born here any more.  Today’s leaders are cowards.  All of them spineless and self-serving.  None of them willing to die for a cause.

All we have left are the little men.

I could talk about how profoundly his story affected me on a personal level.  I could talk about the connection that many felt with him.  I could put together a tribute mix.

None of it is worthy.

My favorite photo from the book…

My favorite photo of Mandela

This is how I will choose to recall this great man.  A fighter.  Shadowboxing.

1000 years from now Nelson Mandela will be remembered as a savior.  Today’s leaders will not even be in the history books.