Barack Obama: First Impressions

Of all the qualities of President Obama that have been talked about, blogged about, observed and recorded, these three strike me as outstanding  simply by virtue of their being so rare:

He eschews bitterness

In his inaugural address, he said that whereas it may not have been possible for a black man to get a seat in a restaurant sixty years ago, a black man could now be President.  He said it without rancour and as a tribute to the spirit of America that has made this sea change possible in just six decades.

He looks for solutions, doesn’t moan about problems

He began his bid for Presidency as the down and out underdog.  He had little funding and he did not have any prior link to the White House or its past occupants.  He built his campaign on nothing more than commitment and confidence.  He did not resort to history to weigh down the collective conscience of the people.  He spoke of change, a future filled with hope, and gave wings to the people’s imagination.  

Perhaps, the credit should go to his upbringing, and his wife’s. Both he and his wife have been guided by  parents to strengthen their fundamentals – educational qualifications and human qualities – rather than milk their disadvantages – colour, race, backwardness.

He is gracious in adverse circumstances

The President may have the oath administered to him once, or maybe twice, in  a lifetime.  And, this was a particularly historical moment.  And the Chief Justice blew it up.  But Obama was clearly more amused than angry, more understanding of the foibles of another than upset with the unpreparedness of the Chief Justice to rise to the occasion.

In days to come, I have no doubt we will find more and more to admire in Barack Obama.  May the Lord keep him safe for a long, long time.  There could be few better role models for the young, and indeed the world. 


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