The Unforgiven | The not so Curious Case of President Jose Mujica in Uruguay

[Inequality and poverty climbed in Uruguay in the early 2000s, and the proudly anti-materialistic country is developing a taste for high-end brands. A billboard exhorting you not to be caught without Ray Ban sunglasses welcomes you to Punta del Este, a resort town teeming with condo developments boasting on-site spas. New Audi dealerships are popping up, and mechanics crash online courses to bone up on the expensive imports. “They have to,” a salesman informed me. “It’s a necessity!”…

… There’s something wrong with the way we respond to figures like Mujica. We place our faith in themfall in love with themfor what they say and the incorporeal impact they have on our national consciousness. But then, not only do we judge their performance on entirely different metrics, we also stop listening to them. Inspirational leaders issue a call to us, not a promise for us. They invite us to see ourselves differently, to open ourselves to a new way of being. If, after casting our ballots, we don’t buy books instead of new cell phones, don’t use less gas, don’t do more to stitch back together the social fabric of our own neighborhoodsif, rather than answer the call, we retreat safely back to our old cynicismthen whose fault is that?]
Read the full article | New Republic



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