ugwu hilary
Africa

Yes We Can’: This Epoch Had Produced a Great Rhetorician

It is always a great privilege to be alive and witness the unfolding of history. It is true that history is been made each day, but great history does not come by everyday.

Those who lived and witnessed their country’s independence were indeed privileged within that given historical epoch to be free of imperial domination and slavery. The age of industrial revolution was a great privilege for the eye-witnesses. This day, as eyebrows are being raised on the American political history, it is worth mentioning that optimism is been introduced in the minds of not just the black Americans, but all the Americans and the world over.  Who is this guy that had reawakened a sense of interest in the American politics and how did he accomplish that? Now let’s talk about him.

Indisputably, he is gentleman by every reasonable standard. His slim stature reminds everyone of his Kenyan genetic heritage. His appearance is clean-cut. Always in suits which characterize the American mode of political pundits, business moguls and other levels of public services.  He is a man of high articulation who sustains a sense of surgical precision in opinions affecting public interest.  He is a scholar of a unique kind whose degree of intellectual firepower could set the highest university in the world blazing with incredible learning. Yet despite this giant intellectual fortification, (which in the ordinary sense of the word ought to inflame his sense of superciliousness), he remains stooped low as a lamb that everyone seems to apprehend his message.
Some time ago, when I first heard about one Barack Obama who is young and in the United State senate and whose father is from Kenya, it sounded like one of those hullabaloo talks that would quickly get erased out of people’s memories. I began shifting my tentacles of interest on him when I first read his book: The Audacity of Hope. First of all, I fell in love with his style of writing. He is an artist in every sense of the world—a good writer who feels his words coming alive in a highly motivational literary expression.

After he announced himself as a candidate for the presidential election, I remember musing within my mind: ‘a butterfly can never be a bird’ (even thought it has a pair of wings and could fly). How could he, a black man for that matter think of such unthinkable? He must be hallucinating or in a false impression of himself or perhaps in a dream state; such a dream that is only accrued to folks suffering from malaria. He’d better take malaria pills so as to be able to maintain a sobriety and think clearly. How about racism? How about certain established unfavorable political structures that trashes new candidate to the edge of irrelevance? I would later come to see that the cynicism was my own personal issues. Not his. He knew where he was going even when every one of us didn’t and perhaps thought he was joking.

Eventually, days came and went and politics were played like games. Iowa had been declared over. Barrack Obama’s flag was put in the citadel of the winner. The sensational media had provided everyone with happenings of the moment. I was hooked up to my television, sporadically switching from CNN, to FOX and then to MSNBC over and over repeatedly. As if I wanted to make sure no analysis slipped out of my curious waiting self. Yes, I clung to the TV just as baby monkeys cling unto the back of their mothers. I gave up my dinner to listen to Barrack’s speech.  I had wanted to see his reactions, his confidence, and his future. I mean his whereabouts within the American presidential candidature and jamborees.

A stage had been set for him to make the speech. There were the old and the young, the cynics and optimists. People were crowded. Minds were waiting, eyes were watching, and ears set ready.  Suddenly there he comes. He emerged like a long awaited sun. People’s faces were lighted in tremendous joys and euphoria. The ocean-crowd of people was already chanting his name like a valiant at battle’s end.  

There were group of friends seated and viewing the historic show from the TV with me. In their faces was also bliss written boldly. We were talking and analyzing and gesticulating about American politics (both the ones we knew and the ones that remained as mater of conjecture in our curious minds)

Then Obama began to address the receptive audience. Hear him: “We have done what the cynics say we couldn’t do”. As he spoke, there was a sense of history being made. Particularly, the greater part of me focused on the power of his oratory. The speech was incredible. His words were plain but prophetical. He seemed to be recalling past history in order to urge people to make new one. One could quickly make a sharp contrast between him and the rest of other politicians.

As people listened to him, some were crying for joy, some were yelling out in thespian exhilaration, some were stretching their hands as if to just grab and swallow him whole. And there were others who just remained silent and recycled the whole event in their minds. Perhaps they were asking what manner of man had come to the 21st century. His words does not just trill sensation, they also contains reason and truth.

It seemed the entire world had been lured into the ‘Obama-sycophant’. No doubt he is one of the greatest orators of the century. He does not just talk and get his listeners drowsy and yawning, he talks meaning into people. And that is why he was able to amass such political crowd for himself. It is true that some people might not know how to get to the truth, but when the truth comes to them they know it; they might not know which leave in the forest tests bitter, but put in their mouths, they could tell. Obama had proven himself as a different kind of politician. His fame had spread across the earth, not just within the North American geographical enclave.
Why should the entire world dance the Obama music? Why are people harkening to his message of political transformation? Simply put, they examined him in his speeches and judged him as one who would live up to the standard of what he advocates. Still, it was his power of oration that drew the masses to first of all want to give him a trial. He speaks with moral forthrightness; something equivalent to the inspirational speeches of Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Ghandi. Some say Obama reminds them of J.F Kennedy. These people understood humanity and the moral responsibility toward her. Heroes like Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr do not preach hate, wars, destruction and exploitation of the less privileged. They hold the message of universal human liberation from structural injustice as a way of the survival of the future of the earth.

History had also produced other great orators such as Adulf Hitler of Germany, Mussolini of Italy, Stalin of the USSR to measure but a few. They too had worn over the crowds to themselves through the power of speech. But they were not known as moralists. They were tyrants. They do not believe in humanity. They use propaganda as a tactical means of enslaving and destroying human families.

Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. were the likes that believe in the human race. Not just their own race. They believe in truth, in love, in fairness and non-violence. In his political career, Obama had been pushed to his wit’s end so many times by his political opponent as a way of getting him agitated and thus distract him. But yet he maintains a form of politics of transparency and sincerity. He stands for the common masses; for the grassroots. He often maintains that real ‘change’ in a giving society can never come from the top down to the bottom but rather from the bottom upward’. This is because the elite would never willingly relinquish their privileged socio-political and economic positions.

In the end, the saying ‘Yes We Can’ had inspired people across the earth. It is a saying embedded not just in political struggles but in day to day life. In the struggle for daily bread, people confront challenges which often times leave them cynical and pessimistic. Obama had proven that nothing is really impossible for those who genuinely dream. Whether he wins the US presidency or not is not the case, the real issue lies in the fact that he is a great man of this 21st century who had made great speeches that had transformed many lives across the earth.  Obama’s idea of YES WE CAN ought also to be translated into the present African struggle for a socio-economic, political and techno-scientific stabilization. So if every African could copy from Barack Obama the saying ‘yes we can’ today, perhaps, tomorrow we would be able to say, ‘Yes we have’

CSN: 57305-2008-07-10

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