Kaieteur News – It takes years after a great individual emerges to truly and objectively assess the inner character and the contents of their reign. The great, Brazilian footballer, Pele, has led the way with his approach.
He rejects Lionel Messi as the next greatest footballer after him because he argues that Messi lacks the talent to score using the agility of both legs. In this respect, Pele seems to favour Cristiano Ronaldo as the better player. It is when you look at the complete skill-set of a leader and the complete box of accomplishments after a long period then a more sober analysis emerges.
As time passes, Obama’s presidency will undergo tremendous revisionist treatment. The newness of a nice, Black president is still with the world and Obama’s personality preserves the sheen on it. But there will be formidable questions asked as time passes?
The curiosities will be countless but two questions will be pyrotechnical. First, what has he really accomplished after being president for two terms? Secondly, was he different from any of his predecessors in dramatic and historical ways to earn the title of a radical man who helped to change America?
Barack Obama basked in the glory the world offered him because at a deep, Freudian level, the world wanted a non-white president to rule the US. Even countries whose leader hated the US welcomed him over all other previous presidents.
He is gone from power and the time-lapse is not long. He left in 2016, a mere four years ago. But as years roll on and as liberal presidents emerge, the historians I am afraid are going to lacerate the “nice boy” image of Obama. The one accusation that is going to stick and stick forever is that he made no difference to what the US is and he did not even attempt to reshape it.
There are hidden faults, very serious ones, that are now coming into the open and these revelations will show that he was just another ordinary president. The danger of Obama’s failure is that it is going to hurt future Black prospects, especially Kamala Harris’. The world is not going to be fascinated with an Asian, East Indian or another Black prospect because people are going to say they had one Black president and they didn’t see any unusual, un-traditional, radical pathways.
My choice for the next president of the US is either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. It should be Harris because she is both West Indian and East Indian and I am both, that too. I am afraid Harris is going to be like Obama – mountainous sheen but no radicalism.
Trump promised he would clear the swamp. He probably got that idea from Obama and put it in his own words. This was the expectation of the world when Obama came into power – he will clear the swamp. He didn’t and that is why Hilary Clinton lost the record of becoming America’s first woman president.
President Irfaan Ali has nine years left of his presidency (I can’t see him not winning in 2025). He could join the four big names that will forever remain big – Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham, Walter Rodney and Desmond Hoyte. Dr. Ali must clear the swamp. He must shake up Guyana the way Desmond Hoyte did it but with more shapely intentions than Hoyte, with deeper sociological understanding of his country than Hoyte.
He must pursue the transformation of Guyana’s total landscape where all classes – big business, small business, the middle classes and the working people – must believe and accept that Guyana belongs to them that they are benefitting from Guyana’s richness and that they will enjoy Guyana’s potential through the benefits that potential will offer.
There is oceanic backwardness that exist in this country that three of the big four – Jagan, Burnham, Hoyte – tried in removing but did not succeed. This backwardness defies description even by the most experienced sociologists and political theorists. They stultify Guyana’s future. They undermined liberty, justice and democracy.
Under Obama, income earnings got more distorted and the poorer classes and the middle classes were not elevated. President Ali must avoid the pitfalls of Hoyte and Jagdeo at all cost. Both of these presidents believed with the growing success of mega investments extensive income benefits for the working masses would have accrued.
Cheddi Jagan was skeptical of this pathway. A small economy like Guyana cannot rely only on that methodology. There has to be a more balancing act. My advice to Ali is to avoid the misdirection of India and the US in Guyana where they are only two classes – the very rich and the very poor.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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