A fellow blogger and friend of mine wrote a post recently that got me thinking about US President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech and our own political situation in South Africa.
Though I don’t agree with Suzy’s line of questioning in her post, I want to pose a slightly different take on the subject matter…What can our SA leaders perhaps learn from President Obama?
Of course that answer is easy when you look at things from a different perspective. I’m not expecting Obama to do anything that we, as South Africans need to learn to correct for ourselves in our country.
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I think that what Barack Obama does represent is a glimmer of hope for all people, no matter what their colour or creed, to aspire for more and account for our actions. He offers us a sense of hope like Madiba did at the end of Apartheid.
I think looking forward to the upcomig elections, most South Africans could only dream of our politicians standing up with integrity and openess like Hillary Clinton or Obama did during their campaign trails.
Another point to consider is the fact that due to our heavily focused goal to produce a First World State, those currently in the developing Third World nations, like South Africa for example, look to the West for guidance, and once again ‘hope’. The US might not have it good right now, but there’s nothing stopping a person from wanting to aspire to have a properly working democracy where our leaders are held to account for the decisions they make regarding the state, its people and our economy.
Have a look at this post that Gino Cosme put up on his blog regarding Amnesty International’s "100 Days" campaign; calling to action President Obama to really use his first 100 days in the Oval office to fight ‘terror’. Do you think lobby groups or NGOs in South Africa could extract the same kind of understanding from SA’s future president, regarding key issues facing our country? I’m not sure about this.
Then there’s also Obama’s great use of social media throughout his campaign and into his presidency. I’ve seen Cope, the DA and the ANC on Facebook but haven’t been compelled to check out their manifestoes because of this. Guess that’s because I can see a front from a mile away and our political parties are putting up just that on the Net. I will rue the day when our politicians realise that the citizens of South Africa cannot be duped so easily and that we actually want some real engagement instead of the facade that is set forth before our eyes.
With the election date being announced next week, one can only hope that our leaders and the wannabe future presidents of South Africa will open their eyes and seize the opportunity to engage and interact with the ‘real’ people online and not just push their messages to the faceless masses as they’ve done in the past.
Then again, we can only ‘hope’, can’t we?