It is a strange thing that I only now have the time to write this blog because I am unwell. But, carpe diem and all that, so here goes. Yesterday, I watched that moment we are all deeming historic, when Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as President of the US. Despite being alone in my sitting room, my emotions were shared by gazillions of people around the globe: hope for a better tomorrow; gratitude that some of the lessons of yesteryear have been learnt.
In the news however, the carping has already begun, otherwise the wheels would come off the media machine. Obama is “just” a politician, can one man do all that he has promised, so on and so forth. Yes this is true, and much needs to be done, however his very presence in high office enables us to revisit Ghandi’s quote:
We must be the change we wish to see in the world.
As ever, only time will tell. My sense is that this great step in history will mark a turning point for humankind as long as we perpetuate the shift in political (meaning “of the people”) grassroots activity seen in Obama’s campaign. Does Britain need an Obama? Perhaps at some level we do, perhaps not. Maybe one Obama is enough and we can all pick up our own individual torch, a beam of light, to illuminate and improve our own corner of the planet.
I was heartened by his counsel to treat the planet and each other with respect, although personally I have doubts about the free market to deliver this. If we are to honestly and completely revolutionise our way of life we must be heartily suspicious of capitalism in its many guises. Its ability to deliver dignity to humankind is limited. Capitalism and religion – my two personal pet peeves, so I shall get off my soap-box right now, before I grumble on about the place of Christianity in a secular office!
Education, in the broadest sense, for all of us is the key to being aware of the human condition around the planet. Once we are aware of the bigger picture, instead of feeling overawed and impotent, the legacy of Obama’s election is to make us feel empowered and important, part of the whole of humanity, be valuable. I want to educate myself in how to appreciate life on a daily basis, to take pleasure in the small stuff, to be content, to be positive. Most importantly, I want us all to have the guts to change things for the better on a qualitative level. This year, next year, the year after…