Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He's already getting the gears

He is already getting a rougher ride and, no, I don't see it as being simply because the expectations placed upon him are unrealistic for a human. I think he's already being given a harder time because he's black.

Already today in some of the newspapers I read I saw things like the coverage was boring, the speech was perhaps not amazing. Like this from the Toronto Star and Metro News (the commuter newspaper), "A good speech, but not Obama's greatest. One that echoed - yet somehow did not quite match - the landmark addresses of FDR and Geo. Washington."


Oh, so coolly unimpressed.

This from the same folks who not that long ago were routine apologists for Bush and his war crimes and lies, and applauded him any time he managed to string a proper sentence together. I even remember reading something like this in the NY Times, "Perhaps these times call for a simple man." Sure, okay, but as President? Don't think the job requirements call for a simple man, actually, or even a man necessarily.

Even without watching Obama deliver that speech, try just reading it yourself. It was amazing, eloquent, intelligent, brave. Realistic, and rightfully rebuked the former administration. And delivered with conviction and, god help us, the proper sense of occasion. Which it was.

This was big. Prejudice is real and ever-present. Even in our smug city. On my morning commute, do the majority of faces of colour get off the subway train at the stop adjacent to the bank towers? Nope. They get off at Queen's Park, to go to work for the provincial government and the university - both institutions with long histories of equal opportunity hiring practices and, here and there and controversially, employment equity.

If Bay Street in 2009 won't systematically hire minorities without being mandated to, you better bloody well do your best to appreciate the miracle that occurred yesterday.

At my office yesterday, we were watching, and it wasn't boring. It was nothing short of amazing. With some heckling of the pastor for his professed anti-gay views. Then we were quiet, listening. Then, a commentator on the TV told us that it was now noon, and Obama was Prez, even without the oath. We cheered. We cheered again when he was sworn in. And then we listened again, every single person in the room hanging on every word of that magnificent speech. It was a momentous occasion.

And today, he's already gettin' the gears.

1 comment:

  1. Obama's election is a measure of the state of U.S. cultural progress. The fact that progress is being made is wonderful, and, given the last eight years, almost surprising.

    I hope that people aren't completely crushed when he disappoints.