Saturday, January 05, 2008

Mr Obama - Winning hearts and minds?

I don’t have much knowledge of American politics and I suppose it is none of my business but I wanted to make a comment about the Presidential race.

How refreshing it is to see a young man like Barack Obama talking with optimism and passion. I have read in the American media how he has won hearts and minds and that to me is more important than any criticism of lack of depth or experience. When hearts and minds are 'up for grabs' it often means people are desperate for change.

I am sure many critics will say he is not experienced enough but I love this quote;

“Yes I know I am young and inexperienced but it is a fault I am remedying every day.” William Pitt on becoming Prime Minister at age 25 in 1783

Media opposition and political opponents will find other reasons to argue against Mr Obama - because that is what politics is all about it seems to me. How much can I smear my opponent?

In the 37 years I have been old enough to vote I have noticed that there is far more emphasis on knocking your opponent than putting forward your own ideas for change.

It is a long race to the White House and there will be many twists and turns before the final decision is reached by US voters in November this year.

For now I want to enjoy the feeling of having someone in the world spotlight that exudes energy, enthusiasm and passion the like of which we have not seen for the last few years on the world stage.

Most leaders in world politics in the last 10 years have been males who are charisma-challenged, boring, white, middle-aged, middle-class, out of the same mass produced mould.

Mr Obama seems different – I hope he is different and I wish him well.


mike said...

Hi Trevor. A couple of thoughts on the Iowa caucuses last night from their neighbor in Michigan: first, there were a lot of people who voted for Mr. Obama due to the ABC principle--Anybody But Clinton. There were also a lot of people who bought in to his message. I'm still not convinced he is who he says he is, but if he becomes the national Democratic candidate I will take a close look at him. The truly scary results of last night's caucuses were the close finish by John Edwards on the Democratic side--this guy is Bad News all the way around--and the success of Governor Huckabee, who is a Southern Baptist minister and makes no bones about mixing religion and politics. The next primaries are next week and ours in Michigan will be in two weeks. We should know who the most likely national candidates are by early next month. Frankly, from what I've seen so far, please pray for us!

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mike and a Happy New Year to you and Keiko from Annie and me.

Thanks for that – it’s always good to hear from you about the US political scene. Sounds like you are in much the same position as we are over here. We have a choice between two below average leaders. We have new Prime Minister Gordon Brown struggling to provide any vision (especially following Tony Blair’s charisma) and then we have David Cameron leader of the Conservative Party and I have no idea what he stands for (I don’t think he knows what he stands for either)

Politics needs characters and we have zero characters as far as I can see.

Let me know what you think as the presidential race develops and I hope it goes well for you all in Michigan. Who are the favourites in Michigan?

PS – We will pray for you as requested – Maybe you should emigrate to li’l ol’ England – the beer is much better over here my friend :-)

progmanager said...

Couple of comments on this. Firstly Barack reminds me a lot of Blair pre his first election victory/early years.
Secondly the difference between Cameron and Brown appears to be one of managerial ethos rather than values or ethos.
My feeling is that whoever wins (on that side of the pond or this) is likely to find their hands severely tied by the professionals (civil servants) who have a unique talent for limiting progress in any direction - preferring to stick with only modest disturbances to the status quo. Remember the scars on Tony's back?

I would like to think that Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran alongside democratic failures in Nigeria and Pakistan might also temper enthusiasm for exporting western democracy through violence. But history suggests that I should not get my hopes too high!

Trevor Gay said...

I agree about the comparison between Mr Obama and Tony Blair. They both give that appearance of ‘freshness’ and a ‘new’ approach.

I believe Tony Blair was the best thing that could have happened for UK politics at the time he was elected in 1997. Sadly Iraq is his Achilles heel. This is unfortunate when we look at the things he achieved in 10 years as our Prime Minister. I suspect history will be kinder to him than current critics.

Attacking other cultures through military invasion to impose change has never worked – it is arrogance at best and ignorance at worst. Why do we never learn from history?

How wonderful if Mr Obama became the leader of the western world and his first action was to stop the war in Iraq – now that would be some achievement!