It’s been an exciting week, and it’s been good to have the time to watch BBC 24 and CNN non-stop, both during and after the election. Momentous times.
The Guardian yesterday not only had a special Obama supplement but also filled most of the first half of the paper with Obama news and celebrations. There were also several pages of it in G2.
Obama speaks of change, and various commentators have been giving their views on the sorts of change that's needed. I’m interested in the very few that talk about changes to people’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and how they might be achieved.
Rebecca Walker in her column raises the issue of tackling what I guess Oliver James would call Affluenza:
"I predict we will instruct our children to strive for mental and spiritual health, in addition to physical health. We will expect them to do more with less, and to understand the finite nature of the world's resources."
It’s interesting that she sees the new Obama period as one for ushering in changes that are beyond the material, the economic, the legal, the political and the social. Mental and spiritual health issues ought to be high on everyone’s agenda, but rarely come into the news pages, as such.
She also makes a good point about Obama being a writer:
"America is at the end of one story, and the beginning of another. We are fortunate Obama is a writer. We need his heart and his pen and his intuitive understanding of narrative to bring us to the other side of the current crisis, having learned to turn tragedy - of which we are sure to see more - into insight, and the decline of a superpower into an educational epic of redemption".
Meanwhile, in the special Obama supplement, another Walker, Alice, Rebecca’s mum, writes,
"I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters.
A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
In Peace and Joy,
The Guardian seems to have reprinted this from TheRoot.com, where it was published on November 5th as an open letter to Obama, but curiously the Guardian has changed the opening, Dear Brother Obama, to Dear Barack Obama, and has also omitted the final sentence, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” Perhaps the sub-editor didn’t understand it.
There’s another of Alice Walker’s recent articles that’s well worth reading at:
Check out some of the pig ignorant comments that follow it, too.
The key thing about Obama does seem to be that, unlike all his middle and upper class predecessors, he understands the lives, the aspirations and the needs of the vast majority of so-called ordinary people, and he seems determined to run the country for the benefit of ‘ordinary’ people, and not for the better-off, or for the sake of making the USA ever-more powerful and dominant. He sees clearly the correlation between squandering vast amounts of money on global domination and keeping the majority of the population in relative poverty with no access to proper health services and no decent schools for most kids.
Have just caught up with the Rachel From North London blog, which had an excellent piece on Obama on Monday, 3rd November: “More than a righteous wind”
Damian Grammaticus (crazy name, crazy guy) reporting for the BBC from Beijing said something about what relations between America and China will be like, going forward.
I love this phrase. It instantly marks out its user as a prat. Going forward? How can relations go forward? When was it that people started talking about going forward when they mean in the future?
It’s one thing for dickheads and the general public to use whatever stupid so-called hip expressions they like, but how can professional journalists get away with using dumb expressions like going forward?
“He needs to prove he means what he says, going forward.” So says Emily Prat, reporting from the US. Not going backward, then? Or going sideways? AAAGGGHHH!