The White House posted this photo on its Flickr feed yesterday, of President Barack Obama taking a moment to sit on the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Obama remarked on the moment later that day, at a campaign event in Michigan. (The bus is housed at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.)

“I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn’t make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream,” he said, according to a White House pool report.

Paying homage to a hero does not make one a hero or a great leader. But contemplating the wisdom and brevity of such events in history is a powerful way to start.

It passed

With great humility, and with great pride, we will make history for our country and progress for the American people. This is an American proposal that honors the tradition of our country.

Narrative control

We like to believe that simple is smart, especially when trying to communicate complex issues, so why then does Obama need a revision on his political narrative after such an impressive campaign to get into office. His strong, clear narrative (hope and change) helped the president connect with voters and explain the journey. The lack of one now invites opponents to craft a less flattering portrayal. The NYT comments on President Obama’s first year in office through the lens of controlling a clear story.

“You’ve got to have a clear, easy to understand story,” said Mark McKinnon, an image-maker for George W. Bush’s two presidential campaigns but a professed admirer of Mr. Obama. “Obama’s story is getting very complicated and confusing for voters. Obama is trying to do it all and appease too many constituencies. Voters like him and think he’s smart. But they’re not exactly clear whose side he’s fighting on.”