Obama and the chimera of hope

When Barack Obama appeared on the international stage as a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States, many of us applauded. Even US citizens (generally) felt a surge of optimism.

That a black man could assume ‘ownership’ of the White House was a stupendous concept. Even for non-Americans. Perhaps, more so.

It was the core message of Obama that struck a chord worldwide: and that was HOPE.

He offered it in buckets. We all took it for a promise. But that, of course, is a fool’s fantasy.

Now, however, Obama faces a new and very demanding challenge. A greater one than when he first offered himself to the USA, and the world, as a potential savior.

He blew that, as we now see. Okay, most of us recognise that no-one else on offer had the likely capacity to be able to save the world from itself. And, frankly, who could? Seriously, we ought to tar and feather anyone who seriously suggests they can make the world a better place.

Even a resurrected Jesus Christ would not be a lay-down misere to fix all that is wrong with this place now. And, we should bear in mind, that JC didn’t actually fix things when he was supposedly here last time.

So, we have some issues. But the bets have been placed and Obama has ridden home the winner. But now he owes us. PLEASE, Obama!

You offered hope initially and you could not deliver. The world is a big, bad, nasty place and it screws with people all the time, even Presidents of the United States. So, don’t think we are not sympathetic. It’s a tough gig, being POTUS. We get it. Even living somewhere else in the world, we can appreciate the pressures.

But that’s the job. Some people think it somewhat crazy that any one human being could even consider himself or herself capable of fulfilling all the demands – physical, mental and emotional – of being POTUS. A solitary human being pretending to be the most powerful entity in the universe as we know it? Get outta here!

Still, we need something to break the shackles of the rather sad world we currently occupy. Real global leadership is a very scarce commodity. Germany’s Angela Merkel is trying valiantly but getting remarkably little support. Everyone else (and even her to quite an extent) is engaged in trying to protect their own selfish interests.

They can hardly be blamed for that but if we are to ameliorate some of the constant and ongoing damage we do to this planet – and the harm done to the quality of life of society’s most vulnerable – a truly global leadership perspective is essential.

The portents are that Obama can’t deliver that himself but even if he can set an agenda and drive others to follow suit he can deliver some of that hope he originally promised so eloquently.