Considering the sacrifices, the torments, the incertitude that characterize political competition, one may wander why anyone may want to go through it. However, one media pundit who repeatedly claimed his love for politics is considering to abandon his lucrative commentator post to enter into a senate competition in Pennsylvania. He will come to the political arena convinced, contrary to all those who failed before him, that he will be successful.
It is indeed with that kind of self assurance and determination that Barack Obama had decided about two years ago the time had come for him to seek the presidency of the United States. For him it was not a plausible dream. He was convinced that his time had come not only to try but to bring to reality a will that several others have considered impossible. His journey to the presidency is a model of what well conceived ideas and thoughtful plans developed in the pursuit of meaningful ideals can achieve.
We sure hope that those of us in the Haitian community and those in Haiti are watching these developments closely because we would be wise to emulate some of the actions being taken by America. At a time when the nation and the world is facing unprecedented times, people are putting aside differences to unite around America. Though differences remain stout, they are put in their proper narrow context compared to the task at hand.
Time and again, we Haitians have face historical moment only to fail to rise to the occasion.
People with high paying jobs routinely leave them for the privilege of serving their country. With few exceptions, they don’t do so to enrich themselves. Most of them do so out of patriotism and a sense of common good over the personal ambition.
This is striking because Obama is inheriting two wars, an economic disaster, an environment in distress, a weak health care system, a debilitated infrastructure together with an unemployment that brings back vision of the 1930s Great Depression. In order to tackle all these serious national problems and determine the best possible solutions, President-elect Obama is proposing an exceptional pragmatic government both in the choice of his departmental secretaries and in the selection of his advisers and specialized personnel in the White House.
Naturally, as he can be expected not all of is nominations have received unanimous public approval. Nevertheless, he explained himself that, considering the complexity of the problems and the urgency of their solutions, he had to bring along people with experience, competence and public service dedication. Moreover, some people criticize the number of Ivy League in his cabinet. That shows, on the contrary, that several PhDs and other academic citizens are willing to bring to the service of their country the knowledge they have acquired, often with scholarships, like the teachers and other civil servants. That other reason why Obama insists on the highest possible quality of education for all children in this country.
A run down of President-elect Obama proposed cabinet and White House advisors shows the diversity of his selection. We find 8 State Scholars (Daschle, Vilsack, Chu, Napolitano, Salazar, Gates, Solis, Kirk); 7 Ivy Leaguers (Clinton, Duncan, Geithner, Holder, Donovan, Orszag, Jackson); 5 Women (Clinton, Napolitano, Solis, Rice, Jackson); 4 African Americans (Holder, Kirk, Rice, Jackson); 3 Hispanics (Salazar, Richardson, Solis); 2 Asian Americans (Shinseki, Chu); 2 Republicans (Gates, LaHood); 3 Military officers (Gen. Shinseki, Gen. Jones, Admiral Blair). In the White House staff, there is also a Haitian-American, Patrick Gaspard, from New York, who will serve as political director.
Here’s another breakdown:
— Five Raised in the Midwest (Clinton, Daschle, Gates, Duncan, LaHood, Vilsack) Note: This doesn’t include Chu, who was born in Missouri but grew up in New York or Vilsack who can be now considered a “midwesterner” since he had lived in and lives in Iowa, but he grew up in Pennsylvania.
— Five Women (Clinton, Napolitano, Solis, Rice, Jackson)
— Four Raised in New York (Holder, Donovan, Geithner, Chu — who grew up on Long Island) Note: This does not include Napolitano who was born in NYC or Clinton who currently lives there.
— Four Basketball Players (Duncan, Rice, Holder, Kirk — who also was a cheerleader in college); —
President-elect Obama’s choice of Rev. Rick Warren, one of the most influential pastors in the United States, to give the invocation at his inauguration has caused an uproar among the gay community that has supported Obama, because of Rev. Warren vehement hostility to gay marriage and gays in general. However, Obama has also ask Rev Joseph Lowery, 87, considered the dean of the civil rights movement, to give the benediction. Rev. Lowery says he will pray that the “sprit of fellowship and oneness” remains constant throughout Obama’s presidency. It seems that the benediction will conclude the inauguration ceremony in the right tune.