Reading about Wyclef Jean and Haiti was somewhat eye-opening. He’s
completely daft, of course, to think that he’d make an appropriate
president. (He says he’s a natural leader who will surround himself
with experts. Just like Aristide! Just like George W. Bush!) It’s like Peaches
Geldof running for prime minister of the UK.
even if Wyclef was a political and financial genius, the problem with Haiti is that it’s not a
totally destitute country, it’s only a *98%* destitute country. The
other 2% is an oligarchy that runs nearly everything and blocks change because
They’ve Got Theirs and the country still has enough fancy restaurants
for them to go to dinner in. The 2010 earthquake (230,000 dead!) didn’t
change their lives or their situations really at all. That’s the real obstacle that Wyclef or any president has to overcome.
That’s probably why Bill Clinton spends so much time down there
personally — trying to charm the oligarchs. Maybe if Wyclef wins he
can sing while Bill plays the sax for them, and that will turn the whole thing around.
Possibly I’m being a little harder on Wyclef than he deserves. Mostly I’m tired of the modern-day notion that good intentions, good looks, and a promise to change business as usual are all that’s needed to be a governor, senator, or president in America, Haiti or anywhere else.
What is really needed in our leaders is extreme smarts, deep political experience and savvy, good will, and (perhaps most of all) incredible attention to detail. The sooner we admit that, the better off we’ll be.