Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Nicholas D. Kristof: Obama and the war on brains

The one above from Nicholas is an amazing yet obvious insight. In India, politicians are corrupt. Mostly. But the Prime Miniter has always been intellectually strong. Mostly.

With the emergence of Bush and his defeating Gore, most of us really gave up on the need for intellectual leadership as one of the criteria for American presidency. The Amercian "common man" it seemed cared nothing of intellect, as long as he got his beef, corn and well oiled rifle.

But the participation of the youth has changed this. Youth that have access to information and have a medium for making themselves heard. 24 X 7. From the comfort of their rooms. Just out of college. Who would like to believe that they have the right to asking intelligent questions and be given intelligent answers. They want to believe that change for the better comes from them. (this may be naive, but it gives change a chance)

Never before have young people been so engaged in an election. People, it seems, saw through Palin very quickly. The internet and the right to a good education will change the way leaders will get chosen. There is no doubt about it.

What we will see next is the use of the internet in other western economies which have a high penetration of the internet. Western European elections of the near future will be influenced. (I wonder why Gordon Brown has still not activated the web?)

The US election and the rise of Obama must be taken as a catalyst by all those people that are tired of being condenmed for their intellect. Strong intellect should not mean "lack of touch" with the common man. It should mean the ability of the leader to understand better the problems of theb common man and to build better solutions.

We hope Obama succeeds. (whatever that may mean). Because the rise of intellectual political leaders in the future will gain a lot of momentum from his successful presidency.

Ritu and Venkat

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