Saturday, November 6, 2010

The adulation for Obama's nation (Sorry, Kanye)

The three-syllable proper noun is being chanted every couple of nano seconds on consecutive news channels as part of a flurry of commentary in English and every single Indian language. And in my father's room, there is a lot of channel flipping. So it's 'bamobamaobamaobama' 24/7 with opinions on the shaky airplane ladder to his 'महत्त्वपूर्ण' (important) words signed at the 26/11 memorial to a literal memorisation of his itinerary for today.

Not that I would really mind. I was a fan, still am and am reluctant to give it up. But being a student of IR, I am supposed to be objective and reasoning. Not non-commital on the aid to Pakistan deal. Being a citizen of India, I am supposed to be patriotic. Furious at "insourcing". He is the president of the USA after all. We aren't supposed to expect him to shine his benevolent, leader-of-the-free-world grace upon us. We know the NSS drill-geostrategic, geoeconomic, geopolitical that are consistent of US foreign policy. We know he's been wary of the surge of India and China and our impact on US jobs. My homeland's just started seeing economic success and we don't really want to give that up. Yet we are all fans. We want this hero to be universal, unconstrained by national jurisdiction and commitments and a house divided. Why does he feel like "our guy"? Cause he quotes Nehru and the Mahatma? Cause he spent some time in Indonesia as a kid and his sister's half-Indonesian? Cause he's brown? Cause he's a realisation of the American dream? Wait a second, why do we have an American dream? Let's skip that. We all still measure success in dollars and we can't really help it. We like the American political system, we followed Obama's election more closely than Dr. Singh's. We know Joe Biden better than our own vice-president, what's his name? Her name? (Shri M. Hamid Ansari, thank you, Google) Let's face it. Indian politics is a mess and it's uncool. Why, even American politics wasn't as glam when Bush was around. Obama brought his charm, his oratorical skills, his ideals and wife and made us dream in red, white and blue again. Can we help it? We're only human.

I'm still a fan, still want a hero and am still not about to let go of the voice that enriched my thought process through 'Dreams From My Father', the opinions that aided my answer papers in college. So let me have my illusions a little while longer. Let me imagine this American leader belongs to all of us and we can all catch a bit of stardust.

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