When the President was sworn in she met an overwhelming tide of goodwill from the people. I, and I am certain others, looked to her to be different from the leaders we were burdened with from all sides of the political divide. How disappointed I, and maybe others, have been since then.
I am all for restoration of our national architecture, as it is an essential parts of our intangible heritage. The refurbishing of President’s House was long overdue. What was certainly not welcome though was the President’s comments on “national pride.” It lacked the sensitivity required at a time when citizens are seeing extremely difficult circumstances.
National pride does not console victims of crime. It does not provide justice to the disadvantaged, and it definitely does not repair the damage to flood-stricken homes. It does not fill stomachs, and does not help the poor man who stands to lose his meagre savings in the transition to new $100 bills. It does not comfort the sick and it does not empower those who are socially deprived.
Indeed, the comments of the President reminded me of Marie Antoinette’s famous line, “Let them eat cake.” It need not have been said, but it was said – a figurative slap in the faces of the common citizen in our land.
I think it comes down to definitions. For me, national pride is more than mortar and brick. It is where every person can feel valued and empowered in our land. It is when we can feel safe. It is when I can go abroad and invite others to visit without getting the question, “What about crime?”
What value does the Office of the President hold in our land any more? The time has come to analyse this and decide on it.