Twice hail, Obama

I don’t want to turn this blog into a big Obama gush-a-thon, so I’ve been keeping my mouth pretty well clamped on the new leader of the world. I know he’s going to do some shit things that make me rage. It goes with the territory.

All the same, the man has been behaving like a demi-god in his first couple of days. Banning torture for a start. Who would have thought a few years ago that this would be a ground-breaking act? But then, the zeitgeist shifted and suddenly opposition to torture became somehow weird. Obama has just turned the clock back to sanity. He’s made it so that “extraordinary rendition” can become no longer “ordinary.”

That in itself is enough for me to let him get away with a hell of a lot. But, he has even stepped up to the plate (strange American phrase that is becoming ubiquitous in UK discourse, although none of us know what it means, so I’m using it ironically) again in terms of stopping that mad ban on funding for agencies that counsel women who want abortions.

I am a bit pissed off that European media seem to be so determinedly racist though. The inauguration day reports here were pretty well written all in terms of what it means to have a “black” president. As if being “black” and wearing a suit were the crucial factors in leading the world.

Well, yes, it’s great, but (1) Obama is – like everybody on the planet – “mixed race” and (2) he was elected by Americans of every supposed “race” – totally spurious concept – not because of his visible attributes but because he is the best human being for the job. Total respect to the US population for seeing that. He is the most truly intelligent man to be elected president in my lifetime.

So: USA 1 Europe 0, so far.

4 thoughts on “Twice hail, Obama

  1. “step up to the plate” = rise to the challenge, or accept/assume responsibility. It comes from baseball, when it’s the next player’s turn to come to home plate and get in position to hit the ball. Whatever previous plays have already transpired, it’s the next batter’s turn to potentially change the tide of the game for his team’s advantage.

  2. The ‘global gag order’ on abortion and aid funds has been toggled on and off every time the other party gets into the White House since at least Clinton. Don’t expect it to stay down.

  3. Raytheist
    Thanks for the illuminating definition. I’d got the “assume responsibility” idea but didn’t understand the subtleties.
    It’s funny that the phrase has started turning up in UK English political speech, when the closest that most people who use it have ever got to a baseball game is when they played Rounders in the school playground.
    I’m sure that Americans would find it odd if their leaders began to talk about “batting from a sticky wicket ” or “violating the offside rule”. (And I can’t explain what either of those things mean properly, sorry.)

    Fair point, but at least some agencies that need funds will get them for a few years. An end to the “promote abstinence” idea would probably do the most good.

  4. Just in passing, here in ‘Murricuh (proper pronunciation is everything) the term ‘a sticky wicket’, if not the full phrase ‘batting from same’, has been around for a bit, albeit not over-used. It is generally understood to refer to a difficult or tricky situation, especially one that is not obviously so. Just as the bilingual (Amlish and Britlish) words ‘stepped up’ pretty much gave the whole game away absent knowing what in the hell a plate had to do with anything, so ‘sticky’ seemed a bit of a clue even to those not conversant in cricket-speak.

    As to Mr. Obama, your caution is entirely appropriate. On this side, he has been not just a breath of fresh air but a full bloody gale of the stuff after whatsisname (the stupid one) and other whatsisname (the mean one). But after 8 years of phenomenally incompetent, ideologically loathsome, consistently mean-spirited self-immolation (with a side order of planet-wide ‘collateral damage’) our brand shiny new prez has inherited a staggering number of major problems that need to be solved by yesterday and he is, y’know, just some guy. We have the misfortune of living in interesting times. With luck, he’ll bore us silly.

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