Here follows one of my (slightly rare) off-topic posts, this one is political to boot.
I listened to Obama’s acceptance speech and was caught up in the moment, I see his election as era-defining and a stark demonstration of how far we’ve come in the past hundred or so years. Despite this I can help but feel a little nervous about the entire situation.
Obama is amazing, after eight years of laughing at an oaf (and to be honest the intellect of a nation that, at an aggregate level, elected him to office) it’s revolutionary to hear someone who is an intellectual, an orator and, yes, statesmanlike. To a certain extent therein lies the problem – I was a little frightened to see hundred of Obama supporters, fists in the air, chanting “Yes we can”. Transpose the scene 60 years, change the colour of the speakers skin, and move to another continent and you’ve got another nation following another man who promised to lead them out of the economic train-wreck they had come from.
We all know the results of that foray.
Now not for a minute am I attempting to draw parallels between Obama and Hitler as men – Hitler was a monster, Obama a visionary. But Obama is being set up for a fall – looking at those fists raised in the air it’s hard to imagine how any human being could possible deliver on the expectations of the nation.
Obama has reached almost God-like status, it was interesting to read this BBC editorial where comic Writer John O’Farrell told of the difficulties writers have trying to satirise Obama – some of this is due of course to the traditional “honeymoon period” – let him make some gaffs and it’ll get easier. But some of it is linked to Obama-mania. Writers feel that criticizing or even satirizing Obama would be as risque as was Monty Python’s Life of Brian – Jesus Christ and Obama, two men you don’t make jokes about.
So let’s peg things back a little. Obama is great, his election is pretty amazing when seen within a historical context. He has some great ideas and policies that will help the US and by extension the world.
But a Messiah he isn’t, he’s too early for Sainthood and please don’t name your children after him.