We need a destination
Anniversaries in office are both nice and terrifying. Nice because they’re a way to mark time, distance and measure gain—as well as wrap ourselves in warm memories. Terrifying because they remind us of unmet expectations, of goals slowed down by political realities and a leader’s limitations.
Remember, Mr. President, how it was a year ago, when you were swept into office by an overwhelming vote. You caught the public’s imagination, fevered by your mother’s death, she the icon of democracy.
You were a reluctant candidate, pushed by name and circumstance. You brought with you your years as legislator but you had no experience in running an executive department.
But, gradually, to our amazement, you connected to people, electrified audiences with your simple speeches, your real self (no makeovers!), from the thinning hair to the ill-fitting pants, loose on the waist and tightened by a belt.
You did not cialis brand have the instant charisma of your father, his sharp wit and natural confidence. But you carved your own personality, self-deprecating and humble, and you spoke flawless Tagalog.
People passed around coin boxes and bottles, donated campaign paraphernalia, from stickers to ribbons, and volunteered time and money to help you make it to Malacañang.
Suffering from corruption fatigue, the public welcomed you as a contrast to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. You captured the mood with your slogan, Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. You went a step further and made a connection between poverty and corruption. You did not treat corruption just as a sin unto itself. You linked it to our foremost problem.
I wonder how you felt during that time, Mr. President, when you were declared winner. You must have been elated. But, at the same time, anxious and worried about the big problems that awaited you. Perhaps you felt alone, too, as out there, the wave of expectations reached a high and you canadianpharmacy-toprx knew, deep inside, that, when at the top, it would just be you making the decisions that would really cialis 5 mg once a day matter.
Remember, too, Mr. President, about the difficulties on the campaign trail. You had a divided team. The suddenness of your decision to run for president left your supporters with little time to mesh. All of them rooted for you but they went their separate ways in choosing a vice cialis generic president. From the beginning, as you were thrust into the epicenter of the election campaign, the fault lines among your followers were clear.
But somehow, for a brief moment, we set aside the country’s pressing woes and your team’s disunity when you took your oath of office that sunny day in June last year. There was genuine happiness in the air and it was as if the sun brought shafts of hope—for a new period in our politics, a new turn in our more than a hundred years of building a nation.
It’s been a year since then. I’m sure you’ve learned lessons on leadership, especially in this time of 24/7 media, when news seems to travel faster than light. It’s a harsh reality—mistakes are magnified,
privacy is alien—that many leaders have to live with.
You’ve been a politician and public figure for many years, but you may not have been prepared for the attacks from your opponents who, of course, paint you in a bad light. Sometimes, the criticisms are silly but you’ve still got to address them. Even Barack Obama was not spared; he had to make his birth certificate public to prove that he was born in the US. Similarly, you felt you had to deny your nocturnal affinity with a video game.
I know, Mr. President, that you don’t want unsolicited advice but that’s unavoidable in public office. Let me just say that this is a time to take stock and to separate the valid criticisms from those just meant to disparage you. These are the ones that hurt because they’re true. Those that merely irritate, you can dismiss.
There is little doubt that you mean well for the country. But sometimes, your personal preferences and relations collide with the public interest. This is evident in some of your appointments. Your power to appoint is vast and can spell the difference between success and failure, excellence and mediocrity. It’s hard to detach from friends, those who do not serve the common good—only if you don’t have the country’s interest at heart. This is a supreme test of leadership—to put country above self—and you are not alone in this world faced with such a challenge. This is a constant tension among leaders. So please don’t feel that you, alone, have this burden.
Communication is crucial, as you know (Bill Clinton once said that it’s 50 percent of online pharmacy in quebec canada the battle in the information age), so you would need to unify, rather than divide, your communication team. You would also need to tell us where we’re going, Mr. President. You’re adept at details but we can all get lost in them. We’re with you in this journey but where is our destination?
You may not be a fan of President Fidel Ramos but he got his message through: he repeatedly told us where he was taking us. Remember Philippines 2000? It was boring to hear the same thing drummed into our heads. But we got it. And he made us look outward, talked to us about global competition and the need to catch up with our neighbors.
Bill Clinton gave this advice to Tony Blair when the latter was just a month old as prime minister: “Say it once, say it twice and keep on saying it, and
when you’ve finished, you’ll know you’ve still not said it enough.”
Overall, Mr. President, you’ve changed the tone of leadership. But that should only be the beginning.
TAGS: Bill Clinton, May 2010 elections, President Benigno Aquino III, president fidel ramos, Tony Blair