I feel cheated by Barack Obama.
Two days ago the Senator for Illinois visited Berlin and appeared before 200,000 rapturous Germans to give a thoroughly Presidential speech which, as I’m sure he intended, strongly echoed John F Kennedy’s iconic “Ich bin ein Berliner” declaration of 1963. True, Obama didn’t say much that was memorable, but then again he didn’t need to. One camera sweep taking in his smooth, calm, confident pose and those thousands of adoring faces said it all. This man needs to be the next President of the United States. The Germans have already decided he is.
Then, after a brief stop-off in Paris (during which President Sarkozy made a wonderfully sly, tongue-in-cheek nod towards America’s famous opinion of his countrymen as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”… Sarkozy, we love you too), Senator Obama arrived in London this morning to have breakfast with Tony Blair, a meeting with Gordon Brown at Downing Street and lunch with David Cameron at the Houses of Parliament.
And then he flew home.
What, no rally in Trafalgar Square? No public speeches? No chance for us British Obama fans to gather in our thousands and cheer and grin and register our support for him like the people of Berlin?
Cheated! We were cheated!
Okay, so I’m not really annoyed, and I understand his reasons for putting on a big show in Germany and not here in the UK, where we’re already regarded as fans of the USA. I’m just miffed because I want to see the guy in the flesh: the man who should be the next President of the United States, the man who needs all the support he can get because such a large proportion of American voters are looking at McCain and thinking, “He’ll do,” when they should have learned ten times over by now that they shouldn’t settle for someone who’ll do, they should fight for someone who will.
A lot of people look at McCain and see a white man. They look at Obama and see a black man. When I look at them, I see a man who is 71 next to a man who is 46. The average life expectancy for an American male is 77. Stress is one of the biggest killers in the world, and there is no job in the world more stressful than sitting in the big chair behind that big desk at the White House. Which means that a vote for McCain is, potentially, a vote for whoever he chooses as his Vice President. We don’t even know yet who that will be. Hardly reassuring, is it?
And just look at this man:
Okay, so he’s with the Dalai Lama – that’s good publicity. But who the hell is holding up who, though? They look like two pensioners out for a stroll on the seafront at Eastbourne!
Compare it to this:
Now that’s strength – it’s radiating off him. The body language, the poise, the assurance. He’s a young, powerful, intelligent man in the prime of life. I have a lot of respect for McCain’s experience, but none at all for his future. In Barack Obama, I see a man who’ll grow to become one of the greatest world leaders of all time – if the American voters let him.
If they do, I’ll be first in line to hear him talk in Trafalgar Square.