Great expectations
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Obama by Martin Friel.

He’s simply a man.

Watching the TV I just saw someone say they believe he will change the world. An African man expects him to simultaneously eradicate poverty and introduce democracy to an entire continent. He will solve the financial crisis and help individuals keep their homes. He will also bring peace to the Middle East. The environment? He’ll probably knock off saving the planet before the end of the week.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Obama – a lot. He’s intelligent, a great public speaker, appears to possess compassion and pragmatism in equal measure but most of all he inspires people.

Look at the crowds that choked Washington for his inauguration. A smile on every face. Hope that you could almost taste. People really seem to believe that he has been sent to save not just America, but the world. Have we really become so detached from our own realities and so bereft of belief in ourselves and the collective human spirit that we have to turn to a mere human to save us? Why can’t we save ourselves? What can he possibly do that we can’t? Why do we not want to take responsibility for ourselves? It’s like we have become infants, incapable of looking after ourselves and fighting our own battles. Obama has been installed as a superhero of the age. There is nothing this man can’t do.

But amongst all the hyperbole and hysteria, we seem to have forgotten one very important thing. More important than the fact that he is a mere human like the rest of us, is the fact that he is a politician. Remember them? This is a class of human that over countless centuries, dating back to the Romans and before, have proven time and again to be entirely self-serving and self-preserving. The only time they will think of another is when they are forced to for political expediency. Almost to an individual, they are duplicitous and everything they do is for them and them alone. Their only love is the love of power and they will put on any face in order to achieve that power.

I have lost count the number of times I have heard politicians promise and assure the numbed masses that they, and they alone, represent true change. Even McCain tried it – a perfect example of how freely and loosely the promise is used.

I swear I remember a time when Tony Blair genuinely seemed to offer change and with that change, hope that a new society would manifest itself.

Obama is a politician. You can see it in the stage-managed public appearances. You can see it in the fixed smile that snaps into place when a photo opportunity beckons. You can hear it in the trite quotes tailored to suit the audience. You can also see and hear it in those unguarded moments that every politician dreads when they are recorded saying or doing something they’d rather the public didn’t know about.

Now it could be argued that Obama has adopted these tactics in order to clear the seemingly insurmountable hurdles that barred his way to the White House. Maybe now that he has landed and is safely ensconced, he will show the real face of Obama. Personally, I’m still disappointed that he didn’t take the oath with a gloved fist in the air and head bowed in a Black Panther salute but that’s just an aesthetic preference.

We are looking to this man to rescue us from the towering mountain of shit that looms over us all. But I plead with you to remember two things. Hell, give him every chance in the world to get it right but this man is just that. A man – no more. But perhaps more worryingly, he is a politician. I’ve got a horrible feeling that many a dream is going to be shattered in the coming years and all that hope will swiftly turn to anger, disappointment and disillusion. Who knows but I personally am preparing for a crushing disappointment.

© Winamop. Jan 2009

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© Winamop 2009