Today I’ve glimpsed photos of pomp and ceremony dedicated to honoring the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. I have not read articles. I have heard audio clips via news outlets of President Hu Jintao’s response to scolding he received on China’s human rights record.
I have to say I was more impressed with what Jintao said, than with what I heard he was told. He was reminded China needs to ‘shape up’. His response was a statement about China’s rapid development, acknowledgement that human rights work is a big part of their needed development, and that they are not ignoring it. … or words to that effect.
President Jintao sounded mature, measured without overt calculation, and – quite frankly – honest!
I’m not a romantic. I don’t have a vision that China will somehow emerge as a nation with a depth of compassionate wisdom not shown by nations thus far in history, or in current times.
But I’m mightily annoyed at a popular American habit of pointing fingers outwardly – at ‘socialist health care’, at ‘human rights ignored elsewhere’, as if we demonstrate ‘the real thing’. Our citizens increasingly lack employment, safe housing, full quality educational services, and of course – equal opportunity to access fundamental health care.
President Obama is not unique, as a leader, or as a human, not immune to foibles of human psychology.
Neither is President Jintao, of course. But if President Obama, as ‘the American’ of the gathering, ‘presumes superiority’ by any chance, he does not demonstrate it in any clear way.
In “free America”, income disparity grows, homelessness grows, misery grows — these are real people, real flesh and blood, of all ages, real hopes and opportunities dashed and trashed.
Beyond inadequate domestic policy, there’s more on our list: We are presently responsible for incarceration – by some descriptions intentionally uncomfortable – of a young man who made a conscientious decision to ‘turn whistle blower’, (Bradley Manning). We move along with Guantanamo imprisonment – justified or not, how would we know? (“Doesn’t count?” do we say, “because it’s ‘technically’ not on US soil? That’s blatant non-sense!) Key people here are presently engaged in a vindictive, angry, effort to “get Julian Assange”. For decades we’ve engaged in warring, creating uncountable human misery in distant lands, and among our youth, at a time when they are entering “human service”, and have talents to develop and contribute. Misery created ‘per capita’ by the respective countries might show us more accurately who we are.
So long as the emphasis in international peace-making, and finding economic solution, is on “traditional belief” (profit is a trustworthy measure of success), and so long as behavioral practice of one country to another is guided by old styles, (schmooze them, threaten them, and/or bomb them), this world is not likely to use this 21st Century appropriately or wisely.
I think, sometimes, of President Obama’s interest in Gandhi’s life and work. I think of Gandhi walking with his people, or working at his spinning wheel.
I wonder where our president has parked that inspiration.
Other times I think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think of how his walk matched his talk pretty closely. I think of his remarkable ability to speak his passion, and to re-awaken that passion in others. (I believe we are born geared to experience and share justice and cooperation, King’s words resonated because what he described is already within us.)
Both Gandhi and King were not only ‘political’ leaders, they were teachers, perhaps the best offered for a long time.
I wonder about all the leaders of the ‘free world’, and indeed leaders in actively growing developing countries like China.
I wonder which among them, if any, are willing to dedicate, and re-dedicate, themselves, daily, to “that which is deeply and genuinely best for all people, everywhere.”
Gandhi and King each spent lives offering what they could, their legacy to us is universal. Neither used tradition and ‘established procedures of civilized government’ as final guide in their behaviors.
With Hope! –MaggieAnn