Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The audacity of hope

Today, as everyone on the planet within range of a satellite feed is aware, the 44th President of the United States will be sworn in. He is not white. A first for a nation that claims to be one of the most progressive. Much has been written about Barack Hussein Obama. What is universal is the amount of qualities, emotions and hope that is being placed on his shoulder. He is like Icarus soaring, but like the winged one, he must watch out for the sun, for as it warms it also can scorch. We shall see how long his honeymoon lasts.

Mr. Obama is being hailed as a saviour and a lot of other things. His persona is measured, he's got that statesman thing down pat and we all respect him for it. In the days to come he will face an economy in trouble, foreign relations crises and of course, the burden of hope. That brings with it unrealistic expectations. There is no denying his dynamism, he embodies those qualities that people hold great, that and his ability to keep calm in the face of provocation will stand him in good stead. However, we must remember that in fact, he is a man with the same human frailities as the rest of us. And cut him some slack and help him along. Mr. Obama has reminded many of us what it is to consider country before self, he has evoked the spirit of many past leaders who marched along this road, Dr. Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Even those of us who are not Americans can relate to his call for service.

To digress briefly, it was while walking through the dark lanes in Mustique, unlit by electric light that I realised how bright the stars are at night. Thousands of them twinkling against the velvet, navy blue sky providing the light for the way home. In Trinidad you are hard pressed to see the stars because the country is always so brightly lit. Flying over at night, the contrast between the forested areas and everywhere else is astounding. There are so many lights you can pick out houses etc almost as clearly as in the day. But you miss many things too. When are blinded by the brightness you fail to detect nuance, or those things that cannot compete.

Maybe in touting Mr. Obama's star we miss some of the reality of what is truly special about him. Only time will tell. To the man who has, just by being, changed the world, and his family, Godspeed and Good Luck.


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Marcus the Coffedude said...

What grabbed me most about his inauguration is that you could see that he was nervous and fragile just like us. Big contrast with G.W.Bush and even B.Clinton for that matter who seem like perpetual frat-boy nurtuered spin-doctors.. It is so inspiring to be so human and yet have the courage to face the monolithic task at hand. Very inspiring.


Gabriela said...

I was amazed to see Mr. Obama delivering his speech with no papers at hand. Just as Coffeedude says, what I saw was a very inspiring man, with no masks.
I guess we are all crossing our fingers.

Ruthibelle said...

It was a great day. I trylu enjoyed every second, and hope my memory will keep it all clear in my head for many, many years to come