Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A Giant Leap For Mankind?

“Matty! Sam! Come here,” we called. The boys came trotting down the hall, forsaking the computer for a moment, to see what their parents wanted. “Watch this,” we directed, and sat them down to see Barack Obama take the oath of office and become the 44th and 1st black president of the United States of America. They were a little puzzled but humoured us. When they are grown up, with children of their own, I assured them they would tell those children that they had watched a great moment in history when they were little boys. When I was Matty's age I watched a man take one small step on to the moon. I hope my boys will remember the inauguration of Barack Obama as a step forward in mankind's evolution.

America, I think it is fair to say, has been something of a joke politically in recent years. 8 years of Bushisms and before that Clintoncsque Monicagate (non)affairs eroded already by the likes of Reagan before them, has left the rest of the world wondering why such a sophisticated, advanced and vastly powerful country seems to pick its leaders in much the same way our children play 'pin the tale on the donkey` or other games. The focus of hope on Obama, even the euphoric coverage here in Britain, seems to indicate that the world feels that America has elected a grown up leader this time. Rarely before has so much been expected of one person.

So, no pressure there then. Good luck and best wishes, Mr President.