Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cynical about Barack Obama?

I started to address this in my comment section, but then I got carried away and figured I would put it out here instead. My blog pal Bush Babe, from the land Down Under, said she is a self-confessed cynic and is afraid Obama will not live up to the hype and the huge weight placed on his shoulders. I understand what she's saying, but I see things in a different light.

I'm a long time political junkie, so I follow our politics, and the politics of our nearest neighbour, very closely. As a Canadian, I can’t help but be affected by what happens south of our border, both literally and emotionally. However, I am, if not a cynic exactly, then certainly a sceptic when it comes to politicians themselves, so I get that.

Having worked up-close and personal with a lot of them, I know that many, if not most politicians, are in it for the wrong reasons - power, money, connections, ego - but every once in a while comes a man or woman who is there to make a difference and you just know it, you see it, you feel it in your gut. They are driven by honesty and conviction and an unswerving belief that they are there to serve the citizens who elected them. And that's what they do.

They lead.

They serve.

They inspire.

Sometimes, like a good coach or teacher, a little bit of what motivates him will in turn feed that hunger in you, a hunger some may not even be aware was there. When we are lucky enough to have a man like Obama in a position of power, he can change not only a nation, but an entire world. I believe that. I also believe he's a humble man, an honest man, as well as a man of vision. He knows the task ahead of him. He’s throwing a lot of the responsibility back where it belongs – right back in our laps. We need to clean up this mess together. He’ll do his part, if we do ours. That seems fair to me. And that's a powerful thing.

Is it hype, which to me means exaggerated expectations? I don't think so. I think people are giddy with joy right now, this is true. The American people have been thirsty for this kind of change for a long time, but I think they recognize he is merely one man, a man who is offering a cool drink of water before he expects us all to grab a shovel and build a community well together. Will he stumble sometimes? Most definitely. But Obama has a chance to continue what Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. started. I just hope he’s protected long enough to do what I know he can do.

And what he can do is inspire all of us to do better - for ourselves and for each other.

What do you think? Am I falling for the evangelical fervor that has marked this campaign? Or do you believe as I do, in the power of one. That one man, like Terry Fox, like Gandhi, like Martin Luther King Jr., can change the world by changing the consciousness of each and every one of us?

14 comments:

Dingo said...

I am so hopeful and optimistic about what he promises to do for us and enable us to do for ourselves. That said, I am also realistic about what he has to go up against. Congress, naysayers, people with other agendas. I believe in what he wants to do for our country but I also believe that politics is politics and he will have to compromise and make decisions we may or may not agree with. As much as I love this man, we need to hold him accountable as we would any other leader.

A Novel Woman said...

Oh absolutely, I agree with you. And he's not claiming to be a messiah, but an ordinary man with an extraordinary task in front of him. I think he's going to hold himself accountable as well.

Kathleen said...

Hi Pam,
I've been reading your blog for a while now and decided that today was the day to jump in.
I am a Canadian, living in the US for the past 30 years. I believe that time will tell if our instincts are right, if this is truly a man of integrity. But then, what is there, if there is not hope? And with this man at the helm, I know that is what I feel.

Debby said...

I'm a supporter of Obama. I am very hopeful. It is a great time to be an idealist.

A Novel Woman said...

Ah, thank you Kathleen for jumping in! Yes, I hear you.

And Debby you are absolutely right (as you usually are) that this IS the time to be an idealist, if by idealist you mean visionary and not pipe-dreamer. I think if you START there, great things can happen.

Bush Babe said...

Well HELLO!! Guess I'd better jump in here seeing as how I started this!! Heh...

Firstly, I am cynical about politics. Full stop. Like you I have worked up close and personal with a number of them, and the vast majority have left me cold. Even if they start off for the right reasons, the job soons taints them. That said, I HAVE met one or two who rise above it. And they are inspiring. The ones I know have been quiet achievers.

I am trying NOT to be cynical about Mr Obama. I feel his charisma and his power - it reaches around the world. I WANT to believe. I WANT to see America rise above that which has shackled it. I DO believe the world can be a better place. And this man isas good a chance as we have.

Goodness, now you have a whole book of waffle from me!! Intrigued to see more responses here...

:-)
BB

A Novel Woman said...

Hey, I like it when people say what they really think!

And yes, I too am cynical about politics and especially politicians, and I can count on one three-fingered hand the ones I have had faith in. Most of them are fighting each other to get their snouts into the trough. I think your point about the quiet achiever is valid, and you know, I think Obama IS a quiet achiever, actually. I have the feeling he struggled with the decision to run for President, but felt he HAD to. That this is bigger than him. That's what my gut tells me.

Now you gots me thinking about waffles. Damn carbs will be my undoing....

Anonymous said...

Hi PP

Anonymous said...

hi again

Julie said...

I was at a course yesterday on non-defensive communications. The instructor there believed that while the media portrayed him as naive, he is really just a master of getting people to stop trying to 'win' a conversation and really start working together towards common goals, to be open and honest and direct so that things can get done and these great goals be achieved. After taking the course, I think I agree with her.

I so want to believe, and I so hope he can do what needs to be done.

A Novel Woman said...

Julie, that sounds like a really interesting course. I'd love to hear more! And I think your instructor is absolutely right about Obama. There's real intelligence and confidence at work there, something that's been missing for quite some time.

Julie said...

It was a terrific course - the instructor's site is at www.pndc.com. There is a two-page document you can print out that really is a great summary, plus she has other resources there. It really opened my eyes to soome of the patterns we use when communicating, and how they often drive us further apart, rather than bring us together.

Barbara said...

Obama is just a magician using slight of hand to get the attention focused away from the real action. Hillary Clinton (Bill Clinton's foundation) and John Kerry are the forces to watch. They have a strangle hold on the power to manipulate world issues. The wishes of the American people and The Constitution have been sold out for their agenda. Obama is not my reason for hope.

A Novel Woman said...

Julie, thanks so much for that. I read a bit on her website and she makes a lot of sense. In fact, I used a lot of what she advocates in raising my children.

Barbara, I thank you for your opinion. I don't agree with a word of it, but I appreciate you expressing your point of view.