Walked into the staff room at a certain tertiary-level educational institution in Barbados and was interestingly surprised to find four posters of the President of the United States, Barack Obama, posted at various points around the room. I could not leave without inquiring why there were four posters of President Obama, and only one of a Barbadian leader – our deceased Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Thompson. And I didn’t even see Thompson until I searched, his photo being quite diminutive in comparison. They had started with 2 Obama posters, I was told. A US Embassy official visited the institution and upon seeing the posters was impressed by the obvious “respect”. His response was to mail back two framed photos of President Obama, autographed by his own hand. I got the impression the gifts quite delighted the division’s head.
Impressed by the respect? I was saddened by the genuflection. I certainly don’t mean to belittle any aspect of Obama’s presidency – I myself skipped work, drove 5 hours and froze my giblets off for the opportunity to be on the Washington Mall in DC when he was inaugurated. But sometimes we all are challenged to keep things in perspective. As monumental as his presidency is for the United States, I have to ask – what has Obama done for me lately? Not nearly as much as The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, for random example, and I don’t see her picture up anywhere. Perhaps I should put it up…hmm…
Make sure you take a good read of the often-mentioned “Mirror Image” speech by good old Errol, the Right and Honourable. We’ve taken but only one step towards his vision. Education is the vehicle not the destination. We so love to boast about ‘free education’ and few of us can say anything about continuing to move towards true transformation. Therein is our lack of enlightenment evident. Take Errol’s words to heart: “I want to know what kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? That is what I am concerned about. What kind of mirror image do you have of yourself?” Let’s look inward for our heroes. ‘Cause trust me – Obama’s a cool dude and all, but he ain’t transforming Barbados or the international power hierarchy anytime soon.
Love & light.