I have a great problem with the idea behind the title of this post, a title which has been used many times over the years and which, unsurprisingly, refers exclusively to the President of the United States of America.
I have a problem with it for many reasons. The main one, of course, is that there can be no leader of the free world, unless that leader has been properly and legally elected by the citizens of the free world. Not just by some of the citizens of the United States, but by all adults throughout all the countries which count. And there, of course, is the next problem: which countries count as being part of the free world? Do we even have one? I mean, if you take the USA first, is this massive country a part of the free world, with all its (claims of) voter suppression, inequality, poverty? Is it even a democratic country? Here we must remember that the USA is a republic, and that the leader of the country is not elected by democratic means, but by an Electoral College.
Photo Source: Chris Leishman – Creative Commons
Is there any country on our small globe which could be called free? Or, come to that, even democratic? Admittedly there are some which come fairly close, but not close to being free in that citizens can talk and act without fear. Every single country in this world has legislation which prevents, which bans, which stops freedoms and, of course, we all have different ideas of what freedom is or could / can be. Freedom to smoke hash, to have an abortion, to sing in the streets, to express an opinion, to follow no religion at all. Freedom, as I mentioned elsewhere, to buy a wedding cake for two people of the same gender, whether they marry or not.
However, I come back to my original point: leader of the free world. Not of my world. And not the world of the majority of people ion this planet, whether their country is termed free or not.
So can we just stop calling the President of the United States of America, no matter who it may have been or might be in the future, the Leader of the Free World? It would make things so much easier, especially with those who we – in the free world – claim live in the not-so-free world but believe, rightly or wrongly, that their world is just as free as we like to imagine ours is.
- Viktoria Michaelis.