I’ve been giving this a lot of thought since the 20th of January and I think that I’ve worked it out. What have I worked out, you ask? I’ve worked out why I like Barack Obama.
Sure we have some political opinions in common, we’re both educated Liberals with a belief in personal responsibility and straight talking, and overall he seems like a decent guy, but it’s more than that…
For the first time in a very long time I can point at him and say, ‘That’s the kind of person I want running my country.’. Why do I want someone like Barack Obama running my country? It’s really very simple, he has no problem telling truth to power (whether you see that as Americans or Corporate America or Old Money America, they are all getting the same rap), he has no problem with the politics of realism, and most important of all he has no problem reminding the people that he serves that while he can inspire and set the tone and direction of his country, without the people’s support and engagement in the day to day running of his country he cannot succeed. He has as much as said that he will work tirelessly to fulfill his office if everyone else will accept that in order for their great democracy to work they all need to be involved, engaged and working (for at least some small portion of their time) towards the common good.
There is no one in British politics at the moment (or at least no one making enough noise for me to have noticed) who is prepared to offer to lead on the basis of the challenge of ‘get involved’, no one reminding us, the electorate that politicians work for us, not for their corporate friends, or their social agenda, or their religion, or even for their own advancement; they work for you and me. Sure it is reasonable for them to expect to be well (though not over exuberantly) paid for their hard work, and for that work to lead to other pastures once they leave public life, but the first priority of any public servant should be obvious – the clue is in the name.
I am sure that President Obama is no saint, that he would love a Nobel Prize or to leave office and be an envoy for the UN in four or, fate-willing, eight years time, that he has ambition of his own, but for the first time in a long, long time I really believe that there is a person in the Oval Office who sees the truth that putting his or her ambition aside for the greater good of their constituency is the surest route to affecting change. If Obama truly embraces his duty and is the President of the People then he cannot be manipulated into inaction or pandering, as he has nothing to lose but his office, and the Office really is greater than the man.
I hope I am right about him, and I hope I am right to have faith in the American People that they will see (if I am right) that their prosperity, health and freedom is his mission day to day, week to week and judge him on that rather than anything else. If that can happen, if a good man truly can become President of the United States then maybe, just maybe a good man (or woman) really can come to the fore and lead us in Britain into an age where the good of the many and the rewards of the just and the caring is the bounty of all and far outweighs the greed for power and money of the few.
( X-Posted from my politics and V-log blog, Britvox )