Barack Obama is a paradox. He is a black boy who grew up in a white family. He is a Christian with the middle name ‘Hussein’. In politics, all these things can easily go against you. But like a good leader should, Obama has used his diversity to his advantage. He has been able to project himself as the symbolic realization of the American dream.
It is amazing to hear Obama speak. His tone is full of emotion, inspiration and passion. While speech alone is not enough, I think credit is due where leaders can communicate effectively.
Personally, I like some of the freshness and originality that he brings to politics. He has the ability to step back and offer a unique perspective. Obama has not been afraid to oppose the Iraq misadventure, or to express his willingness in meeting with the new Cuban president, even if those stands have been against convention. When political opponents have chosen to question his Christianity instead of debating on his political stands, he has used it to his advantage. This is not easy, and many politicians cannot manage it. Political opponent Mitt Romney – who had to suffer political losses for being a Mormon- is a recent example of how faith can be used to create an aura of suspicion around your personality.
I think it is time we had a young, popular and respectable political leader in India. We need someone to be able to stand up and show people that when a Raj Thackeray attacks folks from a different part of our own country, he is wrong and is destroying the very essence of our fundamental right to equality. We need a leader who can step back when politicians debate surnames and castes, and bring them together for core issues of national development. Is there even one forty-something leader in present Indian politics, whom we can so admire and respect?
I am reading one of Obama’s books: The Audacity of Hope. He is optimistic, but that is not contradictory to being a realist.
Life is not a bed of roses, but being hopeful and aiming for the better are not bad things either…