Thursday, January 19, 2017

Jottings : Slice of life -86 - part 2 ( Obama's farewell)

Jottings : Slice of life -86 - part 2
Obama’s farewell speech bought tears to many eyes. Why Not? Eight years of leadership, grace and dignity comes to very pleasant end, and America will be left relatively better than what it was when this young dynamic, black American President ascended the podium of Capitol hill to announce his arrival in thunderous, mellifluous and visionary prose in the winter of 2009. It was a momentous moment for this country. A promise, a covenant that the founding fathers of this great nation made 250 years ago to themselves and to its people to provide an equal land, opportunity to all those who seek its shores. And when Barack Obama became the 44th President, that promise was redeemed in full and equal measure.
History is often a harsh judge. It tends to reflect the past through the prism of the present. The social and economic conditions Obama inherited were not easy, and the initial rhetoric of his Presidency probably did not match up with promises made over the years, and changes suggested. But it would be unfair to blame him or his presidency for it. He did the best he could with what he had in hand, and helped the steer the country away from impending, catastrophic economic disaster. After all, when a captain is steadying his ship in inclement weather, he cannot be blamed for not chartering new courses and conquer territories. The question is? Decades later, when young men and women learn their history afresh will Barack Obama be considered one the the best president of 20th and early 21st century? Thats a tough question. There is no doubt he will be among the top five Presidents, but I guess, the honor of being the best will go to FD Roosevelt, who steered the country during its most crucial time during 1940’s and ushered in the new deal. The deal that made America prosperous and progressive. Will JFK feature next? I think so. Though a short tenure, he infused his spirit of youth into aging political process and bought a flair to the chair which was fast disappearing. And then Barack Obama name would figure as a symbol of poise and grace. Rising from below, working his way through the system, learning the art of political pedagogy, educating himself well, marrying with love, thought and foresight, he worked his way towards living the dream of being an American in America. In no other political system in the world would you find a man with absolutely no political history or Institutional backing , coming out of the shadows to become its leader by sheer force of personality, intellect and calibre. It is indeed a blessing that the soil of this country still has manure enough to grow such men and women.
His farewell speech then was as spontaneous as it was studied. He struck all the right notes and pulled the right strings in people’s hearts. He was relaxed, contented and there was definitely a sense of relief on his face. Modern America is not easy to govern. The political pressures of a globalized community creates a whole new paradigm of management and leadership. And often, the balancing act of maintaining a country's identity alongside emergence of many other separates identities is an extremely arduous task. Obama succeeded phenomenally well in holding all its people together. A few weeks ago, in the gym, a Black American told me “ Obama has failed us. We gave him our vote hoping we would benefit. But thats not happened..”. Though i did not respond to his comment, in my mind I was proud of Obama. In an age where politicians attempt to pander to their localized groups to hold on to power, here is a President who committed himself to a global agenda. It is a lesson for all other leaders across the globe.
We will miss the beautiful first family. Next week, by this time, the Trumps would wave out of the white house balcony, ushering in a whole new era in American Politics. The Obamas will silently pursue their own lives in downtown Washington, trying to live as normal American citizens, cycling down George town with gay abandon and joy. They sure will enjoy every moment of it. They deserve to.
God bless…
Yours in mortality,
Bala

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