WHAT´S THIS ABOUT OBAMA ? |
A man of the moment or a rush job ?
By Michael Mifsud.
You ask me, but anyone reading some of the diatribe on the so called dysfunction of the present incumbent of the White House, has to be forgiven for feeling a bit confused.
When Barack Obama came in, a very large number of the world electorate dribbled with the effect of the fresh air that suddenly wafted past. If Obama was not the man of the moment, it certainly was not Putin either. In fact if I did not believe in the wizard of Oz after meeting a few world leaders behind the scene, I would still suspect that that is about all a President can do. In a system which focuses on the leader to the extent that the United States does, the end effect, is what matters. The balance of security and self respect must surely be sought in a scenario where half the world turns on the other at the best of times ?
I am talking about particular types of hawks and doves – the ones that are constantly trying to dismantle anything that works and those who stifle it with too much added sugar. There does not seem to be anything in between, except for Obama of course. I mean that. If he cannot be accused of something, it is that he is not doing everything a President can do to keep his head above the tide level that threatens all the citizens. Whether he stands for ground between black or white ethnic needs, (if there is such a thing), what matters, it must be told, is whether the vital mechanism of a nation works to the point that it grants all its subjects as much as is currently available without exception. And this President certainly does that.
Racism is only practiced by the mediocrity in any multicultural society. It is not an issue either among the well educated and the hardworking honest citizens who get on with their lives and work. They can smell a dud at any distance and can tell what serves the purpose at the time better than any of those analysts who do anything, short of consulting oracles to illustrate what they predecided in the first instance. What I mean is that whereas the public work on gut feeling and get it right, the professionals and politically tainted often try to be clever and are ultimately led astray by their own convictions. The colour and cultural divide is exploited by those who would without doubt be seen in the light of their own racial preferences and probably out of some sort of fear for anything other than the customary and neighbourly correct.
In sexual terms it appears that black often finds white disquietingly interesting and vice versa,(at least that is what each side says) - given the right circumstances and perhaps a glass or two - but whether the root of the problem has anything to do with fear of that racial leveller sex, is not clear. Whatever,the hackles rise on both sides and whites feel betrayed and blacks expect it all having got their own in place. Race or skin colour, as most educated people with any form of self respect know, has little to do with the ability to govern or protect. Babylon was created by the efforts of a Black King, Sham and it was coincidentally, the starting point of our own civilisation. The greatest emperors of all times were not Anglo Saxon pink and neither was Jesus who I suspect had a modicum of Asian in him. We came out of Africa initially even if Neanderthal man turns out to be the first step in the white direction. There was no problem with "El Chino" in Peru and a Syrian in Jamaica not to mention a Hungarian in the Elysée or a greengrocer´s daughter in 10 Downing Street, so what´s so startling about Obama ? Does the nation see itself as exclusively stereotyped in the humdrum of the average male White Anglo Saxon Protestant - and in that less than transparent, cosmetic and overdone Peter Pan image? This business of racial characteristics obviously begs the question in the complex international scene headed by the U.N. Does it really matter when whole different societies dominate the world scene at any one time ? What is all this business about black when they throw them into ball games everywhere and make them grab medals for the opportunistic countries who adopt them ? I am being flippant, but I have to be when I remember the hue and cry about Christie the runner who obviously wore little under those loose shorts. Cameras missed his face too occasionally and it made me wonder whether perhaps the presumed viewers´ interests were a little out of focus.
Perhaps looks and other characteristics betray the vast public away from other, less stimulating candidates. Whatever, it does indeed show just how ridiculous the whole business of electoral selection is. Judging a book by its cover may not be all that wise, but in politics what matter is charisma and willingness to surrender to what appears to have what it takes. And if we have to go back to the racial aspect, were they not a few scores of black Africans who, by some magic, turned us all into those neat, white, politically correct pursuers of superiority ? Talk about biting the hands that feed...? Could a ruddy faced man like the equally charming President Clinton, really have any more to say or do differently that a black or black mix, cannot do equally well or better ? In fact, both these charismatic Presidents did their bit, including make us feel very human indeed if under table gambols are anything to go by. Still flippant,but I hope the point is made.
Can we seriously question the capability of an unusual President purely because he was elected in a country with historical fixed ideas of what their leaders should look like ? Did he not get elected and has he not survived this long? Of course he is capable and eminently suitable. The facts speak for themselves. Who can challenge all those who look on him warmly as the icebreaker head of a nation which has for so long stared dismissively at the old world without striking an affectionate chord ? Reagan, Carter, Nixon – all those sombre traditional Americans who apart from the Kennedy´s and their Irish glamour, did not seem to be real without being flanked by military line-ups and space age technology achievements.
I nearly forgot about the incredible Bush Jnr. with his perpetual grin and bonhomie. Now t h e r e was something that kept the whole world wondering what was going on with all those world figures queuing for Camp David. And heaven knows what else, when the cameras were chased away.... ? But at least he hosted a jolly scene and that is something that Barack Obama does very well.
Obama had it tough from the word go. Those who fainted and got up just in time to see him acclaimed by the rest of us, probably missed the point. What they expected was a wave of a new and infinitely more dangerous Martin Luther following. But it just-did-not-happen and few are prepared to wonder why. What is a President in any case and what can he do if he is not going to blow himself up with the very first sign of prejudice in favour or against anything too singularly? Would Barack Obama do that ? It would put a very strong question mark on having got there in the first place, if his rocket career is anything to go by. The electorate, as previously mentioned is often of a higher level of sensible judgement than most political committees hooked on professional advisors.
Carrying the American crown is no easy thing and controversy has always been a sign of good health. The shivers would be more appropriate with silence and quiet disdain. It would imply majority disillusion,which obviously is not there. Challenge and response brings its own level of purchase of time for harassed and pressured leaders and it is the manner of handling these things that determines whether a leader is good or bad. Political life depending on the vagaries of public opinion and biased lobbies out to harness power, has to have its moments of glory and despair.
Like world events, the bad will turn to good and good to disappointment to bad or perhaps to good again. Ce´st la vie and what better than to look on that humble, vulnerable face not cut out to be a tough politician, but a memorable President. And that is what really matters. The so called unlimited powers which are indeed not there, (however much the fairy tale merchants make them out to be) do not create supermen, but cautious fathers of nations who know that they cannot produce immediate answers to everything or please everyone all the time. It would be preposterous otherwise. Cultivation of world respect and hosting the friend and enemy is most of the exercise. The people do the rest.
Many ignore that what also makes a good President is the ability to turn away from the unreasonable demands of one section of society or lobby and earn the time to face them again with some of the answers. It is this tolerance gap that speaks of the daily goodwill of those who realize that their President cannot be everything to all, but something to each and everyone. Obama would never, it is plain to see, turn his back on want or need or race or creed. He is after all, a bit of all these things and much that appeals to those opposing factions that today provide us with most of the conflagration. What better choice can there possibly be for a President of the United States of America ? If time is for change, it certainly is not for now. Not for America. Not for any one country facing responsibility issues with the credibility and waning resources too often in the headlines.
The British were often accused of interfering with everything that worked until it stopped. The Americans were not like that at all, so the present concern for a return to the cosmetic image of the spruce, youthful and impossibly dynamic aged captain of industry, should stay where it came from – Hollywood. Obama carries a beacon for a variety of crucial elements in today´s sea of troubles, not just because of racial mix or misty backgrounds, but because there is a heart which beats above the so called and boring, racial illusion. America after all is the Canaan of the most clearly undefined mix of peoples that never co existed in Europe itself so this is the one place where skin, facial characteristics or even wealth has little to commend itself for divine right to leadership or social balance. If Obama had not concerned himself sensitively with important aspects of the complicated mix of daily priorities, then things would have been much worse.
Whatever forces rustle together to try to end this fascinating and inspiring period in American history, they cannot be doing it out of genuine concern for the peoples of the States. The vision of any President, aware of the tightrope he/she is forced to walk, may perhaps take time to focus because of the factors described, but focus they will, given a chance and tighter public support will follow. Perhaps then it is time to let him feel the pressure of the nation´s shoulder against and which all Presidents should have without reservation,to enable them to play their part to perfection and open their minds to the task without fear or favour.Is this not what leadership is really all about ?
America is not Obama but Obama is America at this moment of time and long may he continue to do so whilst the world watches on with greater affection than has hitherto been the case.
This article was written before his re-election. It stands as sincerely as it did before the present circumstances and given the new host of problems facing him, it assumes greater significance.
In 2017 with the recent election of a non politically influenced "doer" knocking at the doors of the neglected American Institutions, Obama stands in the wings with the conviction that his own contribution was valid and that he left his mark. I believe in both but in doing so, time changed and now he must watch and come back alongside when the need arises.
Michael Mifsud was a British parliamentary correspondent at the age of 16. He published Britain´s first trade journal for professional drivers and launched chauffeuring as a much needed skill. His business life has been innovative in many industries. He was the man who told Bernie Cornfield of SOS that he was wrong and just before it became obvious. A natural organizer at very high levels, he is a fellow of the Academia for Peace international organisation BWW and a lifelong Templar of the only Order with creditable documentation.
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