ON Monday, those fortunate with clear viewing watched in amazement as the shadow of the moon, along the Path of Totality, sped across America during the historic eclipse of the sun which occurred.
A week earlier, another dark shadow was cast over America, this time at low speed, with a not-so-presidential address delivered in the wake of an ugly protest which turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Anti-racist protesters clashed with hate groups, including white supremacists, protesting against the removal of the statue of a Confederate General from the era and mindset when owning black slaves was the order of the day.
Those of us who follow international events may well be experiencing dark clouds of disappointment as the weight of expectation of a great nation seeking some former greatness turns into a tiresome wait.
How supremely ironic that in the week where we celebrate the Remembrance Day of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, we should be regarding the leader of the free world as a less than stellar example, whose moral ambivalence and lack of clarity is troubling. Like the passage of the eclipse, there is an important lesson to observe, that light will eventually emerge, perhaps after the emergence of new leadership.
In the field of technology, there are also patterns of leadership which may be witnessed through the lens of history as newer and more advanced technology replaces older and less capable technology. For example:
* The Apple iPhone caused a massive switch to touchscreen display technology;
* The Nintendo Wii inspired other gaming consoles to use simple wand-like interfaces;
* The Chinese standard for mobile phone charging via USB continues to reduce eWaste today.
While the Chinese mandate of 2006 followed South Korea’s lead, others eventually followed suit, recognizing the wisdom and leadership of these territories. Today, you are unlikely to find a mobile phone that requires its own unique charger instead of a standard USB charger.
The delay in the exercise of true leadership does not force others to stand idly by indefinitely. Even the darkest chapter in our combined history, the Slave Trade, was eventually followed by something better, although not perfect.
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(About the Author: Dr. Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia, offering expertise in systems analysis, design, and development.)