So many of us in the media are too parochial in our thinking and, alas, I’m no exception.
Silly me for thinking that Barack Obama was a gift from the Divine sent to clean up the mess in these United States. Me thinks too small. President Obama” s recent voyage to Europe has made it clear that the task he’s been given extends far beyond U.S. boundaries and probably beyond the willingness of many to comprehend and accept. Put bluntly his Herculean job is about saving the world from itself.
This is a heavy notion for most of us to digest since the bulk of the religious lessons we learned as youngsters involves an obscure carpenter, born in Bethlehem, who came to earth ages ago to save the world by encouraging humankind to – among other things – love our neighbors as thyself. Just as those high priests of biblical times refused to believe that an ordinary man could be the source of such extraordinary gifts of communications and wisdom, today’s far right leaders surely will continue to go that extra mile to obscure the message and diminish the messenger. Followers of the far right won’t be the only ones building barriers and embracing obfuscation.
Though we’re sure to deny it on our dying bed, too many of us believe that the story of Jesus has nothing to do with reality. That’s because – though some of us spend some time in church and on our knees in prayer – reality to most of us has nothing to do with the simple love that’s taught in the gospels.
Obviously, we don’t really love our neighbors as ourselves if we seek to defy and destroy those who don’t think as we do. We show no true concern for our fellow human beings if we, as individuals, can accumulate billions of dollars and so easily turn our backs on those struggling to pay rent and feed their families. And we can’t really be serious about protecting and preserving this magnificent, yet fragile planet we call home if we continue to allow indifference and greed – not good sense and concern for our grandchildren’s future – to forget our childhood principles.
Whether Obama is in Chicago or Congress, addressing parliaments in England or Turkey, he speaks with clarity, sincerity and moves among every class of people with dignity, style and grace. Wherever he goes, he greets you with a disarming smile and routinely exudes the confidence and wisdom of a more seasoned soul. People around the world respond in a positive way because he clearly is someone to admire and respect.
People from my generation and African American background often would say that someone with his charisma and intellect is ahead of his time. But that doesn’t apply this time. For President Obama is the person, the leader that this nation, indeed the world, desperately needs at this moment in history, though many of us won’t ever comprehend or accept that reality.