Our President Bush visited Minneapolis on Saturday. His objective was to see, first-hand, the I35 bridge that collapsed near downtown Minneapolis last Wednesday. He met with the Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybeck (whom I’ve met on a couple of occasions and truly like), and other government leaders and state officials. He also toured the wreckage of the bridge and talked to a survivor who helped rescue kids from a school bus that was involved in the collapse.
This morning as I listened to a video replay of Bush’s comments on KARE-11, my son overhead and asked: “Why would Bush come to see a bridge in the river?”
I said, “Curiosity.” And then I elaborated on the importance of our nation’s leader. His concern for the lives lost, impact of the catastrophe on a large city, and role as “head coach” to a team (the citizens of the U.S.) that will be responsible for rebuilding and remaking, in our case, a bridge.
Figureheads. We all have, in our minds, the relevance of figureheads in our lives. From the Grandma Esthers who everyone revered and counted on for advice in the family to, yes, POTUS.
Some presidents are better than others at “feeling the pain” when people are in shock. Our current commander in chief learned a valuable lesson in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and so when he arrived on the approach of a fallen bridge in Minneapolis on Saturday, I along with the bulk of Twin Cities residents, looked thoughtfully and favorably on his presence, comments and interest in helping this city back up to its feet after being taken down just a few days ago.