Look, I know every country is different. I know different populations have different needs. I don’t care. I want Jacinda.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needs to drop her regular gig for a hot second and lead the U.S. instead.
Oh I know. The U.S. Constitution forbids it … The people of New Zealand will object … She wasn’t born in the U.S. … She has a hilarious accent.
Blah, blah, blah.
New Zealand will be fine. Their COVID-19 numbers are miniscule. Their trickle of new cases is, well, a trickle.
The accent? We’ll learn to decipher it.
Here’s the truth: Ardern earned the promotion, and the U.S. badly needs an actual leader.
Ardern made international headlines last year after the Christchurch shootings. In comments right after the massacre, she not only explained the situation clearly and calmly, she also voiced a stirring reminder of what New Zealand should stand for – compassion, tolerance, kindness.
No leader is perfect. I’m sure there are facets of the job which she isn’t good at. I just don’t see any yet.
Leadership envy. Yep, I have it.
Ardern is just 39 years old. Hell, she could do eight years here in the U.S., another ten in England, and still be viable for a long, swan-song gig as prime minister of New Zealand.
One day the U.S. will finally join the modern world and realize that our next leader needs to be a woman, possibly one younger than 50.
Would we even recognize her when she first crossed our screens?
Would we stop and consider the possibility she could be our next FDR? God, do we need an FDR right now.
Trump once made a laughable, public play to purchase Greenland from Denmark. The female leader of that country, Mette Frederiksen, herself just 42, gave a polite, but firm No.
“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over,” she said. “Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we will of course love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the United States.”
For this sensible response, she earned … the cancellation of Trump’s trip to Denmark. (Lucky Denmark!)
Even if the time of buying and selling other countries has passed, what about the buying and selling of our respective leaders?
Could we at least discuss a rental?
An eight-year, independent-contractor gig for Jacinda?
As pleasantly surprised as I was by the Democratic Party coalescing quickly around a nominee, I was underwhelmed by the choice. Whatever Joe Biden’s best attributes were, they appear mostly in the rear-view mirror. Indeed, sometimes it feels like his strongest attribute is that he isn’t Trump. As vital as that attribute is, it’s not a great filter for finding the best person to lead us out of our current mess, or to prepare us against the next one.
After months of polling, campaigning, and debating, Democrats landed on yet another old white man, even though a seemingly endless parade of them since 1789 has led us directly to this present situation.
Given the uninspiring choice of Biden, it seems the absolute, rock-bottom least we should ask for, in return, is an American Jacinda on the undercard. I don’t know whether that’s Michelle Obama, Stacey Abrams, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, or some other woman. But it ought to be someone who doesn’t just bring electoral votes, but who has true leadership potential.
After all, one thing about Biden’s selection is, it doesn’t scream “two-term president.” Whoever gets the nod for the No. 2 spot could be well situated, four years later, to break the embarrassingly long and obnoxious American taboo against a female President.
On good days — when I’m not mourning the deaths of friends’ parents from Covid-19, or the passing of songwriter John Prine — I like to envision the best, pie-in-the-sky results which might unexpectedly arise from the current debacle.
One is a broad social realization that, Hey, turns out we CAN reduce toxic emissions suddenly and effectively.
Another is, Maybe let women run things for a while?
My own starting position is, Jacinda, no one else, I accept no human being other than Jacinda Ardern as the next leader of the U.S.
But the truth is, we already have a Jacinda in the U.S. We have many, in fact — if we will finally pull our heads out of our collective ass and try something new.
A brave, smart, straightforward young woman is absolutely the Rx for this troubled country.