The ever-interesting Prospect Magazine has a very good portrait of Barak Hussein Obama – the democrat whose political capital is ever-rising, and who is widely tipped to give Clinton a run for her money in the democratic nomination race.
What is interesting is how Obama appears to be a figure who would resonate with much of the ‘Emergent’ generation. Already a friend of Rick Warren (OK, we’ll forgive him that 😉 he came to faith in a more round about way, and is not afraid to talk about it. He is also seen as able to ‘move the boundaries of the race issue’ as he is not the descendent of slaves.
Whether there will be much policy behind the excellent oratory remains to be seen. One critic described him as being ‘the guy who walks into a restaurant with you saying there are 16 reasons to have the fish, and 19 to have the meat’ – he won’t have time to be so reflective if he puts his hat in the ring, let alone when he’s President.
One quote amused me. He candidly talks about his childhood, and his dabbling with both coke and dope. When asked if he’d inhaled he pulled the rug out of the whole Clinton debacle and spin-doctoring by answering, ‘Of course. That was the point.’
Perhaps the question is not whether the US is ready for a black President, but whether it’s ready for such a candid one. With crises growing in Iraq, the threat of climate change and the inertia of the White House to respond, with the deficit spiralling towards the infinite, perhaps the US is still looking for the ‘hero’, as Gil Scott Heron so lyrically put it in his song ‘B-Movie’:
"The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or
the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone
always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B”
movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the
future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne
was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan"