Saturday, September 26, 2015

Can Jammeh learn from Pope Francis and U.S. Speaker John Boehner?

Pope Francis 
U.S. House Speaker Boehner 

Pope Francis is only in his third day of of his U.S. visit but his physical as well as his spiritual presence is reverberating across the American political divide that no American politician or personality can ever exert or influence.
After addressing a Joint Meeting of the House and Senate yesterday, the Republican Speaker John Boehner decided this morning, to resign his Speaker position and his seat in Congress next month. He revealed today that he made his decision this morning. But in retrospect, he hinted that he will resign yesterday when he responded to a journalist's question about the papal visit by suggesting that after he was able to bring the Pope to America, what else was there left to accomplish in Washington.
It is an open secret that Speaker Boehner is presiding over a deeply divided Republican Party in a deeply divided country over just about every major issue of consequence ranging from immigration, climate change, income inequality to capital punishment. In fact, Boehner is so unpopular within his own party that kinder words were coming from Democrats like President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Pelosi than from his own party members, most of whom were busy dancing on his political grave.
The Pope meanwhile continue to preach humility, compassion for the powerless and economically deprived while counselling against zealotry which he seems to be directing against the right wing of the Republican Party that has grown increasingly hostile towards minorities who are gaining increasing political power in proportion to their numbers. The fact that by 2050, they will become the majority in America appears to make a section of the base of the Republican Party very nervous about the prospect.
Boehner's success in getting Pope Francis to accept his invitation to address the Joint Meeting of the House and Senate - a first by any Pope - appears to have been the icing on the cake, and coming in the face of growing disquiet of a very nervous and increasingly hostile GOP toward his leadership, it made his decision to quit easier than it might have otherwise been.
Is there a lesson here for Jammeh. Can he learn humility and against zealotry as preached by Pope Francis. What of showing compassion for the economically downtrodden that is of Jammeh's own creation. Is Jammeh capable of borrowing a leaf from Speaker Boehner's playbook by resigning in the face of mounting opposition to his brutal, corrupt and incompetent rule? I wish the answers to these questions were in the affirmative. Unfortunately, they cannot be because the questions were more rhetorical than anything else. So, we are back to square one, at least as far as Gambia is concerned.