- Andrew O'Sullivan
Does a nation need a Face?
Is it a healthy or desirable to single out one individual to become the face of a nation in the form of a president, prime minister, or any leader for that matter? There was a time when to think of America was to think of George Bush. Anger towards Bush was synonymous with anger towards America. He became the personification of the USA. Surely no individual, regardless of how good or bad a leader they may be should have their identity writ so large upon a nation so as to become almost indistinguishable. Over a billion people and yet somehow this one face becomes the face of the nation. Wouldn’t a progressive Government sensitive to the great diversity on the planet strive to present as more of a collective (with members reflecting a nations diversity) less egocentric, personality driven leadership front to the rest of the world, not to mention their own citizens. And labels, such as ‘Supreme Commander’’ ‘Leader of the Free World’ and ‘Worlds most powerful Man’ further catapults these mere mortals further into the heady realms of the gods. And the fact that they generally seem to be white, Male, middle aged affluent Westerners who strut the world stage like it’s their birth right (at least that’s how it can appear) surly can’t bode well for the vast majority of humanity living in poorer developing countries. Not the sort of good PR likely to engender goodwill and a spirit of co-operation. Surely government at its highest level should reflect the community from which it springs and accommodate for a level of diversity. And present more of a collective; bring the president down a notch or two; Part of a team, not some lone maverick. The tendency for western government to present a slickly packaged powerhouse of elite and privilege in a swirling vortex around some god anointed supreme commander is naturally going to be perceived as arrogant, condescending and bullish no matter what lip service they pay to the contrary. Am I being naive? Missing a bigger pnt