Busy week, this one. Uhuru Kenyatta has been sworn in- i.e. the Kenyan elections are totally and incontrovertibly over. Margaret Thatcher has gone to join the ancestors. One has ascended to the pantheon of rulers, the other has exited stage left.
The reactions to Thatchers' passing have been very.. refreshing. I like the mixture of praise and condemnation that has been flowing online. Her detractors haven't spared her one bit, and her admirers have reminded us what there was to admire about her. Interesting question cropped up though- was she a feminist?
Ha! I don't know that she would have called herself a feminist, but there is always something about being the first of your group to do something, isn't there? She was probably a feminist the same way Barack Obama is an Africanist. Her politics give me an allergic reaction, but damn if I don't respect her. It's this thing I have for people who are unapologetically themselves, especially in light of our current taste for photo-shopped/image-consultant-managed/opinion-poll-flavored changelings in politics.
But back to the part where Britons, and non-Britons at that, have felt very free to express the full range of their opinions about Thatcher. The lack of reverence is what I find exciting. No God-King mentality here, no absolute position, no need for faking emotions, no need for operatic drama. This is the stuff of freedom- and I wish we could embrace exactly that kind of refusal to revere anyone (at least anyone non-clerical) here.
When Julius Nyerere died, there was talk of having him canonized as a Catholic Saint. Erm. No. Let's get as far away from any hints of God-King mentality as possible. Let's embrace our nascent culture of finding something to critique in the government and in our public servants wherever there is anything to critique- and perhaps even where there isn't. Let's keep that fire of contestation burning hot, and feel free to call it like we see it. Because, you know, the other end of the spectrum looks like North Korea.