Wednesday, November 5, 2008

First Thoughts on the First African American President-Elect of the USA

I was struck by the poignant remarks of Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile, whose home in DC is along the walking path to the home of Fredrick Douglas, a former slave, abolitionist and woman’s suffragist. Brazile’s home is close as well to the capital building where the 44th President of the United States of America will take his oath of office in January 2009. She noted that that the steps of the capital were built by enslaved Africans. Last year, Congress passed a bill to name the Capitol Visitor Center Room “Emancipation Hall” to commemorate the contribution of the enslaved workers. Donna said that she envisioned that those workers laid each brick with skill and optimism and in January, their hope will be made manifest.

I was also struck by a news reporter who saw the source of the enthusiasm of the governments world-wide to work with an Obama-led America to their anticipation that they will be able to become partners in the work. Higher education researchers tell us that employers want their college-educated workers to master 21st century skills,” aka, “soft skills.” Soft skills are certainly familiar to the psychoanalytic community—collaboration, inclusion, analysis, collectivity, mutuality, engagement, listening, creativity in problem solving and so on. The world leaders and those they lead seek and anticipate having their voices and visions not only at the table, but empowered to speak and shape our collective future.