Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barack Obama - A 'Transformational' Figure?

When former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president recently, he referred to him as a "transformational figure." By lending support to Obama, the former General becomes the latest in a long line of well-respected national figures to throw their lot in with the young Senator from Illinois.

Of course anything can happen, but at the moment, with just a few days remaining until the election, Barack Obama appears to have made the personal transformation from long shot wunderkind and political rock star to full-fledged, viable candidate for Guardian of the Dream.

Barack Obama has plainly revealed to his detractors that he is possessed of the kind of political sensibilities and personal gravitas one would expect of a true leader. Even though many no doubt disagree with a number of his stated positions on important issues, the most pressing need this time around is for a person with the ability to inspire, to reclaim the respect of foreign governments, and to re-state America's moral authority among the community of nations. Mr. Obama possesses these credentials.

Challenges for the next president - whoever he is - will demand transformations of another kind. Division, fear, and alienation need transforming into unity, hope, and belonging; arrogance, unilateralism, and mistrust need transforming into humility, collaboration, and confidence. However austere the convictions of the next Commander-in-Chief, they must be expressed with a calm and reassuring demeanor, not the shoot-from-the-hip, take-no-prisoners-or-if-you-do-torture-them approach that has done this country so much disservice the last eight years.

Disabling extremist political elements in countries like Iran, North Korea or Pakistan will only be achieved by removing their primary basis for legitimacy: the aggressive and threatening posture of a misguided U.S. foreign policy. Each of these countries, Iran in particular, is populated by masses wanting to see improved relations with the United States. A departure from the outgoing administration's confrontational policies is plainly called for. Barack Obama understands this need.

Thus, my 20-year political love affair with Ralph Nader is coming to an end. It was a good run. As for the growing allure of the Green Party, I want to make certain we at least take a first step in the right direction with a sensitive liberal and promising pragmatist like Mr. Obama.

The closer this political season gets to its day of reckoning, the clearer the message becomes: Barack Obama is ready to lead - and poised to transform.


  1. William I agree about the uniqueness of Obama. He is something we have never seen before and EXACTLY what this country needs at this particular time in history. He represents a synergy of positive energy and confirms the fact that hope can kept alive.

    I fear that Barack will be assassinated. Like my mother says about RFK and JFK, all the good ones are killed. Obama is in extreme danger every single day because his bright light of morality bothers those who are less moral. That is the plain and simple truth.

    If something tragic would happen I do think that Obama's truth love and hope will live on. He is close to a Christ-like figure to me. And remember, Christ was crucified for his beliefs. (Wow, I'm sounding kind of Christian here. Am I a closet Christian Bill?)

  2. "Christ-like" is not so unlikely a characterization. I'm no Christian, but plainly Christ was a transformational figure, which is how I see Barack Obama as well. (I just don't see Obama as transformational in the religious sense.) But I see your point. He seems to hold the promise of something very ambitious and very noble, and circumstances seem to be conspiring in such a way as to portend what may prove to be historic. I sense the same potential for greatness in Obama that you do.