Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack Obama - Offaly's 2nd current world statesman

Barack Obama’s election as next President of the USA is a welcome and truly extraordinary event – almost no matter how his term in office actually turns out in practice.

Less than 50 years ago, negroes were still legally deprived of many basic civil rights in many US states, so this is a genuinely seminal moment in the history of the USA, probably almost unimaginable for many living African-americans.

On the radio tonight I listened to U2’s “(Pride) In the name of love” – their 1984 tribute to Martin Luther King who was murdered in 1968. For all the ordure heaped on Bono for his good works, this is a song which, both musically and morally, delivers on highly challenging aspirations.

It will be interesting to see how, in the coming years, the example of President Obama, an educated, articulate, well-grounded black man, is reflected in the young black population. Let’s hope for the best.

Currently, black male role models appear to consist only of bling-draped rappers and sports stars, blabbering a largely unintelligible rap patois which mainly focuses on sexism and violence (let’s hope Obama never feels the need to tell us anything about his “bitch”), coupled with ill-matched and badly fitting clothing, particularly the desire to show knicker elastic above jean waistline. Can’t these “stars” afford jeans that actually fit??

So roll on January and the inauguration of President Obama. Big promises to keep, and miles to go before he sleeps. The best of luck to him.

PS: The other world leader with family roots is Offaly is, of course, Ireland's Taoiseach Brian Cowen, aka BIFFO.
In Obama's case, BIFFO stands for "Black impressive fellow from Offaly". Cowen's variant is somewhat less polite.

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