Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela (1918-2013) died today.
A lawyer, Mr. Mandela worked mightily for many years against apartheid.
He spent from 1962 through 1990 in a South African prison.
His country released him at the age of 71.
He served as President of South Africa from 1994 through 1999.
He has remained a symbol of fighting injustice — and overcoming it — ever since.
Particularly in political oratory, . . . it adds much to an orator's influence that his own character should look right and that he should be thought to entertain the right feelings towards his hearers. . . . That the orator's own character should look right is particularly important in political speaking.
There are three things which inspire confidence in the orator's own character — the three, namely, that induce us to believe a thing apart from any proof of it: good sense, good moral character, and goodwill.
Character — Aristotle's ethos — stood head and shoulders above the two other elements of persuasion — pathos (emotion) and logos (logic).
You can't think of Nelson Mandela without thinking of character and the moral authority it brings. He persuaded many simply by standing before them and saying what he believed.
He had a great gift.
So did we.
Rest in peace.