The past decade has not only succeeded in telling the world that man-made laws are completely fallible but also has given birth to new approach to life in all its entirety. This new approach to life, especially in politics and science, has given rise to the emergence of new kings and queens who have defied all odds to become the living hope for humanity and human progress.
World over, no man or woman has ever been such a beacon of hope, vision, diplomacy, and democracy as has been the youthful United States president—Barack Obama. Politically speaking, Obama has been, is, and will be, the man of this decade.
Obama’s humble beginning has probably been less of inspiration for him, but surely, his background is a springboard of many people’s courage, faith, and determination. To this end, love in times of hurt, progress in times of problems, and courage in times of crisis has come to be rightly associated with Obama, and such is what succinctly captures Obamaism.
His campaign speeches and activities as well as his subsequent election to the White House in 2009 only gave new heights to Obamaism. And his inaugural speech on November 20 of that year amplified him to a demi-god as he touchingly articulated the essential tenets of human existence—liberty, progress, rule of law, and fair play.
Events following his inauguration, as was the case after his emergence on the world political scene in 2004, become the benchmark for criticizing or praising world leaders. Additionally, Obama became the icon and the standard for transformative leadership, international relations, and diplomacy. Everywhere he went his speech oozed an aura of a father-figure who stops at nothing until justice is achieved, progress is realized, and freedom is guaranteed.
His being black was a blessing to many Africans who saw his blackness as a plus to their resistance against Western and European imperialism. Even though somehow absurd, his African roots was largely seen by Africans as ruling the U.S through the backdoor.
That was then, and now? Things started to change for the worse for the 44th president of the United States. Obama’s appeal and image started diminishing when it was observed that his promises were just promises good in themselves. Obama defaulted on closing the infamous Gitmo Prison and is yet to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Africa’s ever-blazing hope for better trade deals and condition-free aid is fizzling. Academicians, policymakers, as well as social and political commentators in Africa have now been disillusioned. Interestingly, there is a growing awareness, belated though, that in as far as United States politics is concerned, “best interest” is the guiding principle. Therefore, it is not a matter of who goes to the White House, but what principles U.S chooses to follow.
The Middle East too, especially Palestine, has also lost all energy for a U.S brokered, mutually-beneficial peace negotiations between it and her neighbor—Israel. Middle Eastern countries have come to a painful realization that statehood and progress is not about international law and resources but it is about who you know and your readiness to go dirty where necessary in pursuant of “best interest for self”.
Now at 52 years of age, Obama is rising in age but rotting in image. Now the man is aging, and gray hair is the evidence. He has lost his magic wand; and now he is not welcomed as warmly as has been the case. The man is no longer that visionary; and one asks: What is the meaning of vision if it means thinking in abstract terms with no laid implementation plan?
The latest evidence of his growing rotting image is the protests by the South Africans in his recent three-country Africa tour that saw him in Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. Protesters in South Africa accused Obama of being nothing other than a long-hand of the West and European in the systematic cultivation and implementation of double standards in all areas of life.
The crowdmover that is Obama still has the appeal; and he moves masses as no one’s business. What has changed, however, is the type of appeal—this time it is not about positive but negative appeal. And yes, Obama is rising in age, but rotting in image.