Watching the incredible events unfold yesterday in the Mall in Washington made my heart sing. The inauguration of Barack Obama surpassed even my wildest imaginings, and the fact that he went straight to work afterwards gladdened my soul. No, I’m not an American, but as a citizen of the world I found that President Obama’s words spoke to me in a way that was not only inspiring, but also challenging.
This is a man who speaks hope, and hope is really the only language that gets anything done in this world. Without hope, all striving seems futile and it is hard to work up the energy to even try. With hope, you can achieve anything – even the seemingly impossible. America is lucky to have such a man to inspire this generation. Of course, it is impossible to completely agree with anyone’s politics or policies, but as a statesman, Obama certainly has the power to inspire and I have no doubt his presidency will leave America a better place.
Of course, it helps that there is an aura of glamour attached to him. He is young and his wife Michelle is beautiful, fashionable, intelligent and supportive. Actually she probably would have preferred I used those adjectives in another order, but they are meant as compliments nonetheless. I am inspired not only by how she puts her family first, but also how she manages to be of service in the wider world. Describing herself first as “Malia and Sasha’s Mom”, she says “My first priority will always be to make sure that our girls are healthy and grounded. Then I want to help other families to get the support they need, not just to survive, but to thrive.” For all the glamour that seems to surround the President and First Lady, one gets the sense that these are very down to earth people.
It saddens me that there are not more people in the world as enthusiastic and determined as Obama is. It would be nice to have a leader who was an inspiration. While The Queen inspires me, I have to confess that Gordon Brown most certainly does not. It would be wonderful to have a leader who had the hope and presence of President Obama, instead of just a dogged, blinders on determination to make things better just for the moment. While he frantically plugs up the holes in the dyke, the water builds up behind and threatens to overwhelm us all. I sense no spirit of hope around him.
Now, this is the first time I have ever been political on this website, and I certainly do not wish to offend. I’m hardly a great political analyst and I’m only speaking from my heart. The point I want to make is that what I saw and heard yesterday made me realise that we are all going to have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if we are not going to be swallowed by the gloom and pessimism that now seems to surround us every day. We must take action, we must be determined, but above all we must have hope and faith. Not only that, but as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, we have a duty to inspire the young people in our lives and not allow them to be caught up in hopelessness and futility. Particularly in the United Kingdom, where so many of our youth feel disenfranchised and discouraged, we need to eat, breath, speak and sleep hope. It’s the only way we will be able to make Britain great again.
If you want to read President Obama’s inaugural speech, it is posted on the Obama Biden website. You can see it by clicking here . Whatever your politics, it is well worth a read.
It’s fitting that the last thing I’m going to say about this is how thrilled I am to see a black president in the White House. It has been a long time coming and is cause for great rejoicing but whatever colour he is, Barack Obama has the soul of a great leader. I hope his election will help us to stop labelling people by their colour and see them simply for who they are and what they can achieve. It does not make any difference where you come from or what colour your skin is. Everyone can be great. And being great doesn’t have to mean being famous. Being great can be as simple as doing your best and being of service. And that is something we can all do.