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Hope is connected with Barack Obama Hope is connected with Barack Obama
by Thanos Kalamidas
2012-11-06 11:34:44
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It was a few days ago when the evening-news had a special report from Ohio, USA and the latest part of the American presidential campaign.  For some reason I kept the volume mute and I just watched the two candidates and their body language. Amazing, fascinating. From the one side Barack Obama; presidential, confident, comfortable. His whole appearance was telling me “ok fine, let’s finish with this, because we have serious business to attend and very little time!” Mitt Romney from the other side has very nice hair and he looks …tall!!!

I know, I know; I’m bias! I have a short of allergy with anything right wing republican or conservative that makes me feel dizzy with strong headache every time I see them. But with Mitt Romney I had serious problem. I mean four years ago I watched all the televised debates and a few speeches and I have to admit despite all differences McCain made sense sometimes even to me. Every time I saw Mitt Romney anywhere was like bla bla bla bla! Didn’t matter how carefully I tried to watch and listen, every single time I had in front of me somebody who was trying to sense what people were expecting to hear and he was too ready to serve them whatever they wanted.

I remember – and I think it was in his Ohio speech – Mitt Romney tried to make a joke. He said that president Obama says that he’s not an insider in Washington, asking from the people to make him totally outsider and it was one of this awkward moments we all have lived when somebody in the our company wants to impress by being funny and makes a joke he’s the only one who understands and laughs. The crowd reacting the same way we all have acted after a joke like that, laughed nervously, loudly and briefly hoping that the person will never try the same again at least in front of us.

But let’s get a bit serious. I have the feeling that four years we all fell for the same thing that led the Norwegian Nobel Prize committee to award Barack Obama with the Peace Nobel Prize. We invested all our hopes for a better future, feeling cornered from so many problems to one man who only with his physical presence represented change. We were all expecting that Obama election would act as a huge wave of change globally that would inveigle all the problems away and bring a new wind of democracy and peace in every single corner of this globe. Four years after a lot have change but most remained the same. There are still wars all around, there are still terrorists and the number of unemployed has reached record numbers all around. In some things, things have turned worst. But it was not Obama’s fault.

The election of the American president has long time now become an international event and it is natural for all of us to watch what’s going on in USA this moment. Furthermore it is natural to take sides. Nobody in Europe has forgotten the Bush arrogance. It was not “you are with us to fight terrorism”, it was “with me or against me.” it was “my way or the highway!” and in Europe we have learned long time now that you don’t enforce respect, you earn respect. That’s why Bill Clinton is popular in Europe. Even Jimmy Carter is respected in Europe. Ask what Europeans think about George Bush the senior or Ronald Reagan, not to forget the latest George W. Bush; to mention only the resent ones.

Even this moment the Europeans are looking forward to an Obama victory, because they know that he can put the necessary political pressure to help the deadlock Europe is in with the euro-crisis. From the other side is clear to all of us that Mitt Romney is the essence of isolation. But isolation where and when? In a globe where you strongly led into a global economy and all the side effects that brought? Oxymoron and stupid. Add on top of that the Mormon veil Mitt Romney wears and that makes a dangerous cocktail not only for the Americans but for all of us. We had a George W. Bush who could speak with God advising him to ignore international peace institutes and common logic we are going to have somebody who thinks that represents God on earth? I’m sorry but his is terrifying.

From this side of the Atlantic we can only hope that Barack Obama will be re-elected and when I say “we” I mean all the rest without including old friends like Berlusconi, Cameron and Putin or new of the same ideology like Angela Merkel. I’m talking about the people who need hope. Barack Obama did a lot for the American people the last four years and they might not be able to see it now but his work for the national health system is colossal and the next US generations will feel the difference.

I’m not sure if he managed to keep the lobbies outside and the Washington bureaucracy – the same Mitt Romney wants to make the big insider – in the corner; what I know is that he tries and that freed from the very American worry for the re-election he will have the chance to do something more radical about it. At least I hope and hope is connected with Barack Obama.


      
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Emanuel Paparella2012-11-06 15:10:13
Indeed Thanos, in a letter to the ancient Greeks of Corinth Paul mentions hope together with faith and charity expressed thus: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians: 13: 13).

Several interpretations of that passage are possible but I would definitely exclude one, the one proffered by every exploiting capitalist out to appear benevolent. I remain convinced that Paul understood charity quite differently; not as condescending paternalism and philanthropy, as a cover to avoid paying taxes and hide one’s greed; rather he understood it as “solidarity.” That traditional understanding may not be considered very “progressive” nowadays, but it is something worth returning to and worth hoping for. The fathers of the EU surely had that notion of solidarity.


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