Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Crawford’

What We Could Learn From Ongoing Events In Hong Kong

August 17, 2019

8-15-19 Kent Mallet writing for the Newark Advocate headlined: Licking County Board of Elections rejects petitions from 10 potential candidates. Among the many irrevocable rejections (“The deadline for write-ins to file for the November election is Aug. 26, but those who had rejected candidate petitions cannot file as a write-in candidate.”) was “Valerie Mockus, the lone candidate for Hebron mayor, left six of seven circulator statements completely blank, which board members described as a “fatal flaw” on her petition, which was rejected.” We Americans pride ourselves on our democracy and love the leadership it inspires. Mallett’s short article speaks of the almost methodical assumption that “it will all play out” that underpins the workings of democracy in the US of A. In the case of Mockus, the city of Hebron will decide upon a civic leader by means other than democracy. Current federal leadership in Washington has been regularly described as a government of complacency by various pundits. Mallett’s reporting shows the complacency is much more widespread and systemic than just at the highest levels of governance. Locally, leadership just assumes the democratic process will play itself out as intended. And it is intended to be competitive, right? Analysis finds the Democrat party’s run for the White House with over 20 entrants and multiple staging of “debates” reinforces this competitive framing given to our democracy. Overtly and covertly we are reminded that, of course, the selection of a leader is sooo important that the only way to do it is to duke it out in public (and over the media “air waves”). Like Coke or Pepsi, McDonalds or Burger King, paper or plastic, who will be Mr. or Mrs. Number One? Unspoken is that many functional democracies around the world rely on coalitions, not individual charismatic leaders. Leadership in those democracies centers on the leader’s ability to draw up and maintain coalitions of support for programs, policies and direction. Analysis finds it to be not so far fetched to frame the Democrat’s national candidate debates in terms of how those on stage create consensus and agreement amongst each other to form coalitions. That would whittle the mind numbing score of candidates down to a few that represent their coalitions most effectively. Sounds more than reasonable given they are all of the same party, with the same ultimate aspirations, doesn’t it? Where do we find this actually playing out? Writing for Reuters, James Pomfret, Greg Torode, Clare Jim, and Anne Marie Roantree report Rudderless rebellion: Inside the Hong Kong protesters’ anarchic campaign against China (8-16-19). [Names used are representative designations, not identities] “With slogans such as “Free Hong Kong” and “Hong Kong is not China,” Ah Lung and his fellow protesters have made clear they reject a future in which Hong Kong is inexorably absorbed into the mainland giant, eventually becoming just another Chinese city.” “Under the “one-country, two-systems” formula, China promised Hong Kong it would enjoy autonomy for 50 years after its handover from Britain in 1997. Unlike those who negotiated the deal, for young protesters born after the handover that deadline will fall in the middle of their lives. And, as Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong, the future they see careening towards them is that of an authoritarian mainland China with curbs on the freedoms and rights they now enjoy.” “”We can’t retreat or the authoritarianism will worsen,” said Tsang, referring to the Chinese government. “This is not about me. This is for Hong Kong, my home city.”” Incongruous as it may seem, the aspirational reasons that unify the folks of Hong Kong parallel those of the US Democratic party and its current spectacle of leadership selection. But the Reuters article repeatedly stresses and establishes the leaderless nature of the Hong Kong upheaval! “Along with other prominent democrats in the city, Wong has been seen at protests by Reuters being shouted down by activists who say they don’t want the movement hijacked by any single leader or group. “I’m quite happy people are saying we should not rely on any specific political leader to lead this movement,” Wong told Reuters.” “It’s not an issue of having “no leader, it simply means that everyone is a leader,” said one 22-year-old Hong Kong student based in Britain who helps run “antielabhk,” an Instagram page that includes details about protests that has amassed more than 50,000 followers. The student asked not to be named.” Analysis finds it amazing that the seeds of such an alternative outlook on the democratic process of self governance (alternative to the capitalist marketing “McDonalds vs Burger King”) were made apparent in none other than Newark in the run up to this year’s City Council primary. In a mini replication of the national race, the GOP had no contenders while the Dem’s had more than enough available candidates. Few readers may remember but in the media “debate” to discern candidate “differences” prior to the voting, one candidate embodied the alternative approach to the assumed marketing competitiveness for “leadership.” Sharing the overall aspirations of a better Newark (akin to Hong Kong’s lovers of democracy), Democrat Daniel Crawford chose to be in coalition with Jen Kanagy, rather than in competition. He urged voters to vote for the latter if left with only a choice between the two. How refreshing it would be if such genuine leadership and sensibility could be found within the national Democrat party’s 20 plus candidates for president. Instead of a “Pepsi vs Coke” marketing debate, it would be a real time performance of “Let’s work together for a better US.”