22 Jan 2009

Post 99: Thoughts on Barack-mania

I have been able to do little else this week but think about how impressed I was by Barack Obama at his inauguration. So impressed was I, that I downloaded his book 'The audacity of hope' and listened to it because I have discovered a fantastic website called which lets you download audiobooks for a reasonable price, having listened to it I thought it could be renamed 'why can't we all just get along' because it is one of those books that points out everything would be just fine if everyone stopped disagreeing about things, hardly rocket science. The refreshing thing about it is that here is quite a talented and articulate man, combined with his obvious gifts of great oratory and presence it just feels nice to have a leader of the free world that you don't have to coax down from a tyre anymore. More than that it is a re-affirmation that the greatest democracy in the world is a democracy once more. Based on what US satirist Jimmy Tingle said on Bush, it just feels better to have someone who is intellectually up to the job or who wasn't shoehorned into the top job seemingly through legal rather than through democratic means, or who was deemed suitable by the Republican Party seemingly because he had a lot of business connections and because his father used to be the president, under these circumstances no wonder the value of US democracy was being called into question?!
Very little has captured my imagination in the last three years, especially in politics despite the fact that I did politics at University, more than Obama's inauguration address, unfortunately since college apathy about the subject has slightly set in, and I couldn't understand the prolonged hystrionics of a lot of people when Obama won the election. I understand a little better now why politics is so important to some people. Let me explain. My housemate/evening/weekend carer is a white Zimbabwean lady, as is my neighbor/morning carer. They're both in this country because for all intents and purposes it's impossible to live in that country because people live in a climate of fear and poverty: especially those with worthless pensions or savings, could you imagine your life savings being worth less than a loaf of bread? That's what it's like and all caused by a political leader I can call a bastard at best.
All the hype might be Obama's undoing, simply because people seem to think he's the Messiah. Well he's certainly not a very naughty boy but the wheels of politics turn about as slowly as stroke recovery, and it will be a long time before anything he does makes a jot of difference to anything or anyone. For starters trying to sort out the bloody credit crunch is not going to be a walk in the park. I thought I'd try and refamiliarise myself with greed/unpleasantness that characterises the culture of Wall Street. by downloading and listening to a book I had read as a graduate trainee when I worked as a stockbroker, a decade ago, 'Liars Poker' by Michael Lewis, it is the story of how a wide eyed, educated and articulate guy gets to grips with the bond traders at investment bank Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup, the worlds largest (and therefore most evil) US bank I think) What it re-iterated to me was that as long as the intellectual elites are motivated by money and getting paid as much as possible in their next bonus they'll always do what is best for number one rather than this abstract and undefined concept 'the greater good'. As someone who relies on the 'inate goodness' of people to survive this culture saddens me a little and makes me believe our leaders (no matter how Messianic) have an uphill struggle.


Shaun said...

Careful Dom, you're dangerously close to being categorised as a 'Bleeding Heart Liberal' ;)

Dom P said...

I'd rather that than 'champagne socialist'!



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