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Leadership is not exclusive of policy

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Editor: One only has to review Gonsalves’ short endorsement of America’s president-elect Barack Obama to realize the shortcomings of governmental perspective. Gonsalves declared he was not interested in Obama’s health policy or his economic policy, only his leadership. But I dare say that leadership is not exclusive of policy.{{more}} I would also hazard a guess that Gonsalves was also not interested in Obama’s educational policy in view of the blatant disrespect most recently meted out to teachers in St. Vincent. Succinctly, Gonsalves’ statement reflects the government’s nonchalant approach to critical areas of development, not the least of which is economic progress.

Gonsalves went on to say that he supports Obama for his leadership skills; that Obama was able to touch the souls of people in such a way that goodness triumphs. I would like to suggest that Gonsalves may have the exact opposite effect on much of the population, so, therefore, it is this precise quality in Obama he envies. It is also clear that Obama is a family-oriented man and issues of morality play a role in American politics, even if they don’t in Vincentian politics.

I agree with Gonsalves that Obama exemplifies good leadership. Obama calls for unification, not polarization. Obama has adopted a humble, cooperative spirit, not an arrogant, singular posture. Obama is concerned about the average Joe, not in self-aggrandisement. Obama surrounds himself with competent, ethical persons, unlike many of those who occupy positions in the Vincentian Parliament. Obama has bridged the gap between Democrats and Republicans, Blacks and Whites, Catholics and Protestants, with a transcending goodness. In the face of shallow charisma, our PM could only wish to have such a comprehensive and overwhelming impact.

In short, Obama recognizes that integrity in leadership affects the attitude of a nation. I challenge Vincentians to critically scrutinize the attitude of this nation. For if we so do, like America, and other islands around us, we will have no option but to unwaveringly champion for change – in direction, in leadership, in government.

John Smith