Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Obama and Jamaica’s hope

Published:Thursday | April 23, 2015 | 12:01 AM


Barack Obama's meteoric rise, compelling campaign messages, and euphoric march into the White House may have had us all contemplating unprecedented and maybe unrealistic "change". As the years passed, and the world continued to be imperfect, we had to come to terms with the fact that he was, after all, just a man. Some, like Donald Wray (Monday, April 20), still appear to be struggling with this.

It isn't difficult to appreciate that American politics is divided and polarised to extents far greater than Jamaica's. Its advanced institutions of governance, leadership and power would also not allow the president to implement the radical policy changes Mr Wray was hopeful of, even if it had been his desire to do so. The United States is a mature democracy, with the world's most plural society; to govern on such a chess board one has to be gradual in order to not agitate subsets of the constituency.

Do we as Jamaicans even form a part of that constituency? I'm sure it could be argued either way. But assuming we do, we have to be honest about the fact that we would be a statistically insignificant part. If Obama were to take on the concerns of Jamaicans to the extent that Mr Wray's gripe suggests, it would definitely count as him getting a serious post-colonial jacket!

Personally, I have got my money's worth out of Obama's terms in office. Growing up in a period of our history distinctly lacking in principled, inspirational, and intellectual leadership, he did provide hope. Which is, in fact, what he offered, and delivered on. What would actually be naive was to think that out of the innumerable problems of the world, he would find a way to address ours, to the levels of detail we would see fitting.

Timothy A. Thwaites