TUMBY BAY - Like a lot of people I was mesmerised watching the young poet, Amanda Gorman, reading her poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’, at the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States of America.
What surprised me was to read that Amanda has an aspiration to herself become president of the USA.
Why would anyone as smart and articulate as she appears to be want to become president, I wondered?
I understand that it’s not uncommon for young people to aspire to the ‘highest office in the land’ but in most cases that’s just a statement about the magnitude of success they want to achieve in their lives rather than an express aim.
The same people also often say they want to be millionaires by the time they are 30.
As they mature they tend to realise that such ideas are more an expression of youthful arrogance than a realistic aspiration, and abandon them.
In most countries, and particularly in the USA, very few leaders who reach such exulted positions could be defined as exceptional human beings.
Who would want to become a Donald Trump or a Boris Johnson, for instance? And who would want to become a Scott Morrison or a Peter O’Neill?
Who would want to sacrifice their lives in the quest for such power other than a narcissistic and ego-driven individual with psychopathic tendencies?
The days when ideologically-driven individuals with the interests of good government and the welfare of all citizens sought such high office are long gone.
Nowadays aspirants to high office are invariably driven by narrow vested interests promulgated by shady corporations and organisations hiding in the background.
Perhaps Amanda Gorman thinks that she can change that situation. Perhaps she has some sort of Utopian scenario in mind.
The Irish poet, dramatist and novelist, Samuel Beckett once said, “poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity.”
It is remarkable how much influence poets and philosophers have in the world.
Those few decent individuals who reach leadership roles, including presidents and prime ministers, are invariably well-read and cultivate their ideals based upon what they read.
A good leader actually takes their cue from poets, writers and philosophers.
What is really concerning about Amanda Gorman is the potential for her beautiful mind to be corrupted by her aspiration.
It is possible (but unlikely) that Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison and Peter O’Neill once also embraced noble aspirations and look what they have become.
It is entirely possible that Amanda Gorman could turn into an American Maggie Thatcher if she pursues her presidential aspirations. That would be tragedy indeed.
She is now a recognised poet with the potential to become a great poet. Perhaps her success has come too early.
Great poet, or president of the USA? I know which option I would aspire to.