It is Hillary Clinton
It is no brainer to say that the right of the Americans to elect the commander-in-chief of their choice is both constitutional and moral. Arguably, it is not the business of the rest of us to poke our noses into the domestic affairs of the Yankees. Whatever choice they make must be considered one they could live with post Barack Obama.
It is not that simple though; rather, the simple fact is that we are all involved in the American presidential election; not because it is a universal presidential election in which all eligible men and women vote but because our interests, our hopes and our fears are tied up with the choice the Americans make. An American presidential election is like no other any where in the world because the American president is like no other leader in the world. He casts the largest global shadow over the world. We believe he comes into office suffused with the wisdom, the courage and the focus of the founding fathers. The fate of the world is in his hands. He has the capacity and the means to fix anything, even if it is not broken.
Our former president, Goodluck Jonathan, put it rather nicely when he once told President Barack Obama: “You have to fix the world; to fix the world, you have to fix Africa and to fix Africa, you must fix Nigeria.”
I have always been fascinated by the American presidential election because it is a unique leadership recruitment process that, in my view, makes the American electoral system, warts and all, truly the most transparent system in the world. All presidential aspirants are subjected to the same harsh but thorough public and media scrutiny through the primaries in which ordinary party members decide the fate of all presidential candidates. There is no room for the imposition of candidates by either one man or the party moguls. Perhaps, that is why so far, the Americans have never put a closet psychotic in the White House. A foul mouth, as in Donald Trump, might be a different ball game altogether, reminding us, perhaps, that a civil tongue is not necessarily a qualification for American leadership.
General Ibrahim Babangida saw the wisdom in this leadership recruitment process through the party primaries. He introduced it during his transition to civil rule programme. It has since gone the way of everything Nigeria. We are the worse for it today. Not such a big deal, really. Our leadership recruitment process will remain the most flawed in the world – at least in the foreseeable future – because of the unique position the Big Man occupies in everything Nigerian.
The GOP had a crowded field of presidential aspirants. Handsome and young, some of them looked like the new face of America’s political future. But the wheat has quietly separated itself from the chaff. The men made their appearance on the primary stage and were told by their party members they should look for something else to do with their time and lives. Not to worry. They have added a new line to their curriculum vitae: former presidential aspirants.
The Democrats have a less crowded field with only two candidates: Mrs Hilary Clinton and Mr. Bernie Sanders. They are polar opposites – the young and the sprightly versus the old and the tired man making a political splash in his twilight years.
I can cite one thousand and one reasons why it is necessary for the rest of us to nudge the Americans towards electing a presidential candidate that has earned our trust and in whom we are truly pleased. There is no room for one thousand and one reasons in this column, so, let us settle for and make do with three. One, the American president is the leader of the free world. Whatever he does or fails to do affects the entire world for good or ill. That is an enormous moral responsibility. It can only be discharged by a man or woman with a deep sense of moral leadership.
Two, the American economy is still the largest in the world. The American currency, the dollar, is much more than its picturesque green back. It is the world’s king of currencies. To put it another way, the world economy is driven by the American economy. This imposes on the American president the burden of ensuring that the world economy is reasonably protected from the vagaries of frequent hiccups in the global economy. No mean task. China is muscling in but the chances of its economy or currency dictating to the rest of the world how the wind of economic changes should blow is at best remote and futuristic at this point.
Three, the American military-industrial complex remains the single largest industrial enterprise in the world. If you dismantle it, you bring the economic and industrial world to its knees. Nor should we forget that the American president can make us hasten to the pearly gates. So, in a way, we are Americans and Americans are us, election wise.
We reserve the right to beg them not to elect into office someone who might make this a more difficult world for all of us. As things stand, the outstanding presidential candidate is, of course, Mrs Hilary Clinton. She towers above all the men in terms of experience and proven competence. I see her as the commander-in-chief we can trust and in whom we should all be pleased. But I seem to sense a reluctance on the part of her countrymen and women to put her in the White House. Maybe, the Americans feel they are not just ready for a female commander-in-chief yet. We should persuade them to rethink their unholy thought.
The American dream is given expression in many ways. Consider this mantra: it can only happen in America. It means that consistent with the American dream, only the size of a man’s dream and his competence could prevent him from aspiring to anything, including the highest political office in the land. I saw some evidence of this in the 1977 presidential election when Jimmy Carter took on President Gerald Ford. Carter is a nuclear scientist but the world did not know that. He was promoted as a peanut farmer. The point was to show that in America, even a peanut farmer could aspire to and be elected into the highest political office in the land. A peanut farmer in our country would not even dream of becoming a local government council chairman. See the difference?
In electing and re-electing Barack Obama, the Americans made the same point about the limitless possibilities in the American dream. Do you see the chances of a black man being elected British prime minister or the president of France or a German Chancellor? Not likely. It cannot happen because the British, the French and the Germans do not have the equivalent of the American dream. They revel in their nightmares. Or so I should think.
Interestingly, in matters of female leadership, it has not happened in America but it has happened in a good number of third world countries. And it has happened in Britain and Germany. Are the Americans not worried that the American dream seems to discriminate against women? I thought they should. Now, they have the chance to remedy that and show that just as the colour of the skin or being a peanut farmer is no barrier to the White House, gender is no barrier either. What should always matter should be the content of the brain and the content of the heart. Let us see what the Americans make of the American dream this time around. The world is rooting for Mrs. Hilary Clinton. I invite the Americans to do the same and thus live the American dream, the best dream in the world, all things being equal.
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