Nicholas Kristof in his NYT op-ed column last week after the Democratic losses in the US elections, made an impassioned plea to Obama. “Mr. Obama, It’s Time for Some Poetry” is the title of his post and I smiled as I read it.
I am sure all of us who were seduced by the US President’s message of hope and change, were also taken over by his passion, conviction and determination. But, then he lost it. No more conviction, no will, no fire. The romance and the passion went out the window and we were left feeling empty, worried and betrayed.
On the way to real governance and the logistics of execution of power, Obama along with so many politicians including the ones who are fighting their good fights in the Greek municipal elections yesterday and next Sunday, forget and lose focus – if they ever had one to begin with.
In today’s era of handlers, lobbyists, image makers, speechwriters and “glow” artists there is an expected amount of polish that most of the savvy audiences recognize and accept. It goes with the territory and I believe even to untrained eyes the signs of studied oratory brilliance may seem fake at times.
However, authenticity always shows. A huge part of “enlightened” leadership is about the capacity to see the view from someone else’s point of view. Empathy, compassion and those under/overrated soft skills always come up during elections and business leaders should take their cue from perilous times like these.
It is not always about data, statistics, taxes, pension funds and budgets. Trust is a commodity but somehow not a lot of people know how to trade in it anymore. And fake trust ain’t gonna cut it anymore. So, hooray for poetry – as melancholy as it sounds our chances with the poets may be better.