Flanked by the CEO of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and two corporate executives, Ban Ki-moon offered up a vision for a greener future, showed a willingness to work with big business, a heart for getting women better healthcare, and a drive to fight homelessness and poverty.
Plus he's so much more pleasant to listen to.
Ban was here shopping his agenda for getting the US to lead other countries in approving a new international agreement to dramatically reduce green house gas emissions. He was articulate, generous, had clearly studied the issue, and after a few minutes the thought occurred: "why can't we be voting for this guy for mayor?" Four reasons why we should change the residency rules and make Ban Nickels' replacement:1. He is a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist. Ban has traveled from the Arctic ice caps to Mongolia to look at the impact of global warming. "It was a frightening experience when I saw those glaciers melting," he says. He loves the Earth like we do, but...
2. He isn't afraid of big business. Sitting to his right wasn't a local climate change activist; it was Billy Glover, a Senior Vice President at Boeing. Any massive changes to emissions regulations will seriously impact the airplane manufacturer. So in theory, someone with Ban's earth-hugging rhetoric would be met with hesitation by the Chamber types. But instead, you could hear them all laughing through a room divider as they finished up lunch before this afternoon's press conference. "Everybody has a role to play in addressing this climate change," he says. "It is, after all, the business community who leads by implementing these policies, by investing money, by making their business activities in a greener, cleaner sustainable way."
3. He's a feminist. Ban's visit wasn't just about environmentalism. He breakfasted with Bill and Melinda Gates this morning to talk about ways their foundation can support efforts to improve women's health in developing countries. He cited statistics showing that one woman dies in childbirth in a developing country every minute. "This is an unacceptable situation," he says. "If women are not healthy, the whole society cannot be healthy."
4. He's a gentle, soothing baritone, who has a sincere smile. Shallow? Yes. But is anyone else sick of the shrill, always-on-the-attack, smirking style of the mayoral finalists? Elect Ban Ki-moon!