Verbatim | Apr 08,2023
Nov 14 , 2020
By Matewos Berhanu
Once again, the United States has emphasised its emblematic composure of inclusiveness regardless of origin, race or differences of ideas with the election of former Vice President Joe Biden to the presidency. The "stronger together" trumpet has been sounded much louder for diversity than homogeneity. It has set an exemplary position to all nations that human potential is best harnessed in togetherness, where unity in diversity is rewarded with political stability.
It can be reasonably argued that the US is a country that reflects best how the wide spectrum of races, ethnicities and, most of all, ideologies are bounded up by civilisation. With minority groups, from women to African Americans, inching ever closer to economic and political empowerment, it has reignited hope in the American project.
Putting aside the complexity of politics and partisanship, for what it is worth, the United States has reiterated its message of unity among human races that echoes across all corners of the globe. This is not to imply perfection or to overlook the extremes of the Left and the Right that has come to underlie the nation’s politics.
It does not take being an American citizen to realise that there are also many areas where the nation’s politics has become dysfunctional, especially the attitudes toward policies and decisions coming from the other side of the aisle. The kind of dissension exhibited at times by representatives on political issues compels the mind to doubt if the figureheads on both sides of the aisle are even contemporaries.
Indeed, the growing polarity among the American public, sourced from racial or ideological differences, also portends that there may be dark times yet to come. There is little to suggest the exceptional reality of this than the fact that President Donald Trump has still not conceded the election that was held earlier this month. Trusted elections and smooth transitions of power are shining expressions of civilisation and democracy.
Worth noting is what the past four years of the US presidency have left for the world. It is nothing short of astounding that a single four-year term of a US president has consequences on the rest of the world for years, if not decades, to come. These range from agreements on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal to international multilateral institutions and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
This is not to mention the Ethio-Egyptian political impasse over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Trump administration’s involvement in it. From Trump’s off the cuff remarks to the evident lack of neutrality in the attempt to bring the two parties to a negotiation, it was a case of how a single administration’s policy objectives impact countries across the world.
This should be concerning for the global order, although it has been obvious for some time that power has been concentrated in the hands of very few countries for too long. It sends a serious message to the international community to strengthen multinational institutions and ensure a fairer distribution of power on decisions to be made about global issues.
Still, there are lessons for Ethiopia to derive, especially in the effort to forge unity and build strong institutions. That is not an oversight on the fact that Ethiopia has for generations been an icon of the diversity of cultures, languages and religions, though they have been leading to conflict and displacement for long.
An element of the political malaise is political leadership, the essence of which lies in acting for the good of the people within the context of plurality. The nation’s history of nation-building should not be a chronological naming of leaders but a representation of its rich and diverse social makeup. People should not be canvases on which leaders’ paint. They are themselves the masterpiece.
As much as we cherish and celebrate peace, which is a valuable treasure, we need to understand and commit ourselves to what it takes to establish and maintain it. If nothing else, America’s relative political stability is a good lesson in this.
PUBLISHED ON Nov 14,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1072]
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