Wednesday, June 10, 2009

a much awaited obama post

President Obama's recent speech in Cairo, Egypt, was a much anticipated event. Prior to it's deliverance, people sat at the edge of their seats, both in the Unites States and abroad. There has been an often reiterated ideal that has stamped into the minds and hearts of people, and that is hope. For a long time, hope has been stomped out from the hearts of people, like the stomping out of fire. Being a very charismatic character, Obama's hope has been very contagious, even among skeptics. The question, prior to Obama's speech, was: will this just be another speech like others heard before, or will it truly be the catalyst for change?

I'll be honest, I'm torn at what to think. Maybe I'm a bit of a skeptic, given our history of presidents more recently... Being much talk and deliberation, but very little action. Obama's speech was amazing, magnetic, full of wisdom yet at the same time frustrating. Will he be able to apply all that was said? Was it all a load of BS? Was it consistent? And so forth…

As a student, who just wrote a recent leadership analysis paper for my Masters thesis, I would have to say that Obama's leadership heavily lies in what Weber would call Charismatic, yet at the same time, he might be able to shift into the other two roles of leadership, those being: Legalistic and traditional. I'm not sure how traditional people might think Obama is. Actually, according to many, he completely breaks from tradition. However, I take the opinion that Obama sticks to tradition. Listen or read his speeches. He always uses historical examples to explain contemporary issues. Therefore, I see him as a traditional leader. Using the ideals of the past, but reinterpreting them to fit today. Similarly, I can't help but to confirm his legalistic nature of leadership. I mean, he is the president of the United States... and was (is), before that, a lawyer... I mean... how can you deny his legalistic approach to politics and leadership. According to Weber (who is essentially one of the greatest leadership thinkers of western thought), if one can utilize all these forms of leadership than they are a good leader. But the thing that ties all this back together is whether Obama can follow through with action. Weber says about politics “compromises any kind of independent leadership in action” (Politics as a Vocation). Meaning, political leadership is grounded in action.

This has been the issue since Obama's election as president. People don't know what to expect. Will it be the same old same old... talk about issues... and leave them hanging? How many presidents attempted to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict during their leadership and failed to do so? Will this be the same?

I'd like to say, that I don't put my full trust in any human being (including myself) because we're bound to make mistakes... I only fully trust God. I'm not saying that I don't trust Obama, because I do, but I don't think he's infallible, which many people have been making him out to be. Many people, especially Middle Easterners and Muslims, have been skeptic towards Obama because of Israel's inaction towards American pressure against Israeli expansion and the push to freeze settlements. Israel, quite literally, ignored Obama's pressure, and followed through with their own decision. Therefore, how effective will American pressure be now in the region? If America's biggest ally in the region turns a blind eye, then how will states that do not see eye to eye with the United States react? Will this favor badly for Obama?

Let me point out a couple of things... God created the Earth in six days... So, why do people think the world will change instantaneously. Maybe Obama won't be able to get everything he stated done... Maybe he will... But what we need to look at is what he's done so far.

First, he defied American history and became the first black president to govern the United States.
Second, he managed to unite a whole body of people behind him, because of his mixed background. Being that: He is half black and half white. He lived in a war torn, poor environment, and went to some of the best schools in the country. He is a Christian, but grew up among Muslims in Indonesia; and so forth. I'm not saying we're in a post-racial society. Nor am I saying the Obama is epitome of perfection. All I'm saying is that people understand him. He speaks their language. People relate to him because they feel like he is one of them, regardless of background.
Third, in the beginning of his term, he took steps towards the issues on his platforms: the stimulus package, employment issues, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Forth, he defied the norm of society, and said what was on his mind. How many people, would say that America is a pro-Muslim country.... when the majority of Americans believe the stereotype that all/most Muslims are terrorists?
Fifth, he's been under the microscope more thoroughly than Bush was... and is under more scrutiny than Bush was... but it hasn't held him back.
Sixth, he order the close of Guantanamo Bay, and is putting terror suspects through civilian courts in the United States, which gives people (such as family members) a feeling of ease, knowing where and what is happening to their family member.
I can go on.... but... this is getting too long...

So, what was the point of all of this:

I'm not saying everything will be good. There is bound to be mistakes, problems, and questions. Such as the question, why is it okay for America to have Nuclear weapons but Iran cannot? Or... why send American troops to Pakistan where the whole Swat region in Pakistan was ripped apart, only to invest $1.5 billion for the next 5 years? How about the question of pen pals... what's the point? We've been doing it ever since the INTERNET became common....? So why waste money on an already provided enterprise? Or if America now wants to end terrorism, why do they fight terror with terror? As well as, shouldn't issues of peace be negotiated with those causing unrest... therefore, why isn't Obama listening to the demands of Al-Qaeda or other similar groups? These are just a couple of questions that I've heard on the news and came across...

This post is to clarify one thing... Obama is trying what he thinks will be best. However, he is subject to social systems, political systems, eons of history and conflict, and biases. He cannot change everything... but he can, if God Wills it, accelerate change (maybe for the better, maybe for worse). Maybe it'll look like not much happened... but maybe in 50 years or 100 years it will be clear. He may be a bit naive, according to some, but isn't that WAY better than having a corrupt ruler????

I personally believe that Obama is being honest, but honesty doesn't guarantee that everything will change. As a Muslim, I put my trust solely in God. As an American citizen, I trust that God Willed Obama as our president our of His Wisdom....

So... we'll see what happens.