I learned this morning, as everyone else did, that Benazir Bhutto was killed in a suicide bombers attack at a political rally in the lead ups to what were supposed to be free and fair elections in Pakistan next month. I was shocked, as everyone is, by the abrupt nature of her death. Obviously, she had the courage and conviction to run any sort of political campaign in a political climate as violent and hectic as Pakistan.
Realizing this, it made me wonder which of our current crop of Presidential candidates heading into next weeks primaries would have the courage and conviction to do the same were their lives at such risk for merely standing up as the opposition. Would Mitt Romney be running for president if his life were in danger at campaign rallies? Would Hillary Clinton? Would Mr. 9-11 himself, Rudy Giuliani, make a stop on the trail if security weren't tight as a drum? Would Barack Obama? Would John Edwards or Mike Huckabee even start running if they knew shots might be fired?
The answers I came to were troubling to me. I honestly don't know if any of the candidates would have the strength of will to run for the highest office in the land in the face of such lethal adversity.
This is something we should consider in choosing our candidates. Is it in their character to stand for something greater than themselves, as Benazir Bhutto did, and pay the ultimate price for the beliefs they held so dear?
Maybe we should ask them. Sadly though, all we'd get is a perfectly manicured answer designed by a team of writers and political strategists to put our minds ease.
In the meantime, we should remember the sacrifice of actual leaders of moral conviction, strength and bravery and how they handled themselves in times of severe strife in the countries they were trying to make better with democracy. But on this day, particularly the sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto.
Bryan Young blogs daily at This Divided State.