Early days yet but preparations for presidential elections in the United States of America have already captured the attention of the world; Grenada included.
Right here in Grenada, many people are paying very close attention to the Republican Party’s process of deciding who will be assigned the task of attempting to become the 45th president of the United States.
The expert analysts among us will be able to expertly break down the proceedings thus far, explain subtle nuances and make rational predictions of the results. However there are certain observations that the lay man can also make and everyone can put their observations in the context of how what is happening in the US impacts us here in Grenada and what lessons we can learn from it.
Over the past two elections in the US; a sort of unorthodoxy, if you will, has begun to creep in, in the sense that persons who once would have had no chance in the world of ascending to presidential office in the country began to be seriously considered.
Right before current two-term president Barack Obama was given the nod by the electorate, few would have given anyone of black origin event the slightest chance of becoming the American President. His most worthy rival in the Democrats’ selection of a presidential candidate was Hilary Clinton, a woman, another unusual development in American politics.
The world had seen black people enter the US presidential race before a la Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton but these attempts were considered merely symbolic with no real aspirations of success.
In this present republican process to select a candidate for the November 8, 2016 elections, another ‘unusualness’ has emerged. The present frontrunner is another character of the type that in the past no one would have given the slightest chance.
Even if businessman Donald Trump does not eventually win the Republican candidacy, fact is; America took him seriously. Trump is not your typical American presidential candidate. His somewhat uncultured approach, his brazenness, outspoken nature without much thought apparently of what effects his words may have are somewhat a step away from the norm.
Trump is obviously not your usual well cultured, well rehearsed, quite circumspect hopeful but one who is determined to say it as he sees it and say it how he thinks it should be said. But many people are gravitating to him and considering him a refreshing change in the monotony.
Many seem to think that the last decade or so has been a manifestation of America’s willingness to experiment with a different type of politician. It seems a call almost to shake things up; to challenge the political status quo and to dabble in unorthodoxy.
At least some people believe Trump’s campaign is good for America including Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly. O’ Reilly said “everybody else is bashing the hell out of Donald Trump. That’s the chic thing to do, but he has engaged people. He has forced people to pay attention, and they are paying attention, and that is good for America.”
O’Reilly predicted that Trump will be “competitive” six months down the line but feels there were too many variables that would determine whether he would retain his frontrunner status.
Even if Trump is not the eventual candidate he has shaken things up and has caused the American political gray beards to come face to face with the reality that things can be done differently.
What lessons can we benefit from? The world is changing so rapidly that things just appear to whizz by. The person, the business entity, the country and people that will keep up are those that are willing to make and accept the necessary changes and adjustments.
The American people understand this and know that stagnation is the law of death while movement and dynamism are the laws of life. The American people have determined that they must gradually change the general method of politics and leadership that they have stuck to over the centuries if they are to remain relevant and strong.
In Grenada, we also have to begin to demand a change in the political nonchalance that we continue to accept, even though it is painfully clear that nothing by way of development and advancement is coming out of it.
We will need to cast our eyes around for politicians that believe in realism, candour and an understanding of what it takes to keep up with the global changes; rather than those who might be able to win a seat but are good for hardly anything else. Failure to do this will be adhering doggedly to a path that leads to certain destruction.