Years ago, I attended a campaign rally for George McGovern. It was a small gathering on a college campus in California. The only thing I remember about the event was McGovern's finger. The whole speech he was waving that finger at everyone, like a minister in church threatening eternal fire if his preaching wasn't followed. That finger, which seemed bigger than a finger should be, put me off more than anything McGovern said. It struck me as condescending and disrespectful of the audience, a sign of someone who thinks he knows better than the rest of us.
President Obama was waving the same finger around in his speech at the UN, a finger that looked longer than most. Do they grow from use, or is it a Pinocchio finger? That finger was used throughout, along with the President's favorite word, "I." Is this a man whose great accomplishments entitle him to wave his finger at leaders of sovereign nations? Is this a man of great spiritual learning or enlightenment? Is this what one earns by being the world's best teleprompter reader? Is this the respect one should show at the United Nations?
The use of the finger and the word "I" seem to be the hallmarks of President Obama's speeches. I was tempted to wave my own finger at the TV, but another one, usually reserved for the trial lawyer ads.