President Obama one year on

obama_and_popeThe euphoria, joy and sense of pride evoked by the election of Barrack Obama as the first black president of the United States a year ago was palpable. (Pictured: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican earlier th

Here is a black person who has risen to the top, not as we have seen all too often through patronage of a self-serving system, but here was a black person who made it on merit against uncompromising odds. Kenya, where Obamas father was born, declared a public holiday on the day of his victory at the polls, and as we understand it, and for all the anti-American rhetoric (not always without good cause), Obamas Inaugural address got live broadcast in every African country except Zimbabwe.

In our undisguised enthusiasm over the election of Obama as the first black US President, we could be accused of being partisan and adopting a them and us attitude at variance with our mission.

At one extreme we had the South African Apartheid regime who unashamedly stated that black people were predestined to be hewers of wood and drawers of water and going as far as backing that view from Scripture by suggesting that this was because Africans were descendants of the cursed son of Noah! The election of Obama has been a psychological boost to black school children and others. He has broken the glass ceiling which will be embraced by all people of goodwill, black or white.

Obama has so much to teach us, especially our leaders, not withstanding the fact that he is young enough to be a son to some of our leader(s). Both his acceptance and inaugural addresses, and more recently his reaction to his winning the Nobel

Peace Prize, are couched in humility, not the pride we are used to. And contrary to our bishops pastoral released last month talking about our leaders, no hate speech but presenting himself as a national leader to all whether supporter or not; recognising the contribution of people from all walks of life and not just oneself and the cadres; recognising the contribution of political opponents rather than always demonising them. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the services rendered by this brave and selfless leader. He is significantly ready to listen to dissenting voices and not just to sycophants and cronies:

I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. It therefore came as hardly any surprise that he was awarded with arguably the worlds most prestigious accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize (out of 205 candidates, which included Zimbabwes Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai) less than a year into his presidency.

And much as his catch phrase Yes, we can has caught the imagination of so many, we at the same time find it wanting viewed against our Lords words to St Peter to say there is nothing we can do by ourselves ( for cut off from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5))

We appeal to him to retain it but change the catch phrase to Yes by Gods grace we can.

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