Monday, February 15, 2010

More Presidents' Day thinking - how much we have, how much we have to lose

This is from Anglican leaders in Southern Africa. Yes, far away in miles. But how far away in culture and politics?

We have listened to accounts of unbridled greed, a greed that is not simply limited to those in political power. Nevertheless, we are especially concerned at the levels of greed of those in power, and at the manner in which political processes are manipulated and co-opted in the pursuit of self enrichment. This has resulted in a serious undermining of democratic values to the point where, in some places, such values are non-existent. We were distressed to hear of people living below the poverty datum line in the oil rich country of Angola, and of the huge number of people struggling to exist on less than $2 a day in Swaziland, where the average per capita income is over $5,000 per annum. In some of the nations within our Province, this quest for self enrichment has given rise to blatant abuses of power to the point where, in Swaziland, for example, political leaders stifle all attempts at dialogue and silence opposition, preferring instead to rule by threats and intimidation.

We have also been concerned at reports regarding the moral degeneration within our societies and among their leadership. The almost unprecedented levels of alleged corruption among those in positions of power within the Republic of South Africa, the seeming inability or unwillingness of the State to hold anyone accountable, and the recent revelations of the sexual misconduct of the President of that country do not bode well for the future and are cause for serious concern. The people in our pews look at what is happening there and elsewhere within our Province, and ask who they can respect and look up to as role models in the political leadership of our nations.

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