I saw Barack Hussein Obama deliver his speech live on NDTV. Well, this post is not about where you can catch his speech. Neither is it about the influence his words will have on the policies worldwide. It is about something that made me realize the brilliance of Obama as an orator and the skills of his speechwriter (a 27 yr old who goes by the name of Jon Favreau).
Obama thanked Bush for 'serving the nation' and then went on to say that even though USA is the world's biggest power they do not have the freedom to do as they wish to. Even as he was 'mindful of the sacrifices that our (American) ancestors have bestowed' he remembered 'the patchwork heritage' and the roots of his father. He pronounced America to be friend of all 'every nation and every man,women and child' as he alerted his foes. He said US will 'responsibly leave Iraq', 'forge hard earned peace with Afghanistan' but to 'the Muslim world', 'will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist'. The leader of this superpower despite his belief in his 'most prosperous and powerful nation on Earth' admitted that 'everywhere we look, there is work to be done'. He told the citizens to 'pick themselves up', develop a stronger moral fibre, rid of the bad habits and show kindness, by reminding them of the way their ancestors had put the thought of a nation above their individuality. In convincing the Americans that the problems they face are 'real' and that these challenges 'will be met', he also said that it was both the leadership and the citizens that were responsible. His statement that 'power alone cannot protect' them, might serve as a wake up call for the Americans. While he said he won't apologise for the way Americans live he told his 'fellow citizens' to change - a lot of things.
There is a lot more of this 'apparent contradiction' in his speech. But Obama gives his countrymen much needed hope and faith, in this hour of crisis. Its weird, but I was reminded of my father, who when I was a kid, used to explain things to me in this way. He would point out my mistake, tell me I was a good kid and assure me of my capabilities. His words were enough to make me plunge deeper despite having faced failure. He wasn't doing much - just given me sound advice and a much needed reality check, without being harsh. And most of the times, I came out victorious.
I wonder if Americans will be triumphant too