It’s June 27th, 2015, ten days after the slaughter in Charleston’s AME church, and a day after Barack Obama delivered a eulogy in that same church, at the funeral of the Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
I have just had to time to watch it in full.
This is a good man. A real man. A man of substance.
I find my thoughts drawn to Hunter S. Thompson. HST was the keenest poltical writer America has ever known, in my opinion. He saw the big picture. Always. In a way it was his curse, and I think what created his cynical, biting edge. But he wasn’t cynical for the sake of cynicism. He was that way because he saw the whole machination at once. Many of us only see the figures that appear out of the cuckoo clock on the hour, but Hunter always saw the wheels behind those doors and understood them. One of his last books was Better Than Sex, an almost grudging tribute to Bill Clinton, whom HST saw as a perfect politician, because of his natural charisma, and his ability to play that machine better than he ever could that saxophone of his.
But HST could not have foreseen Obama. He could not have dared to have hoped that large, except perhaps maybe in his heart of hearts, where only few, if any could see. I think if Hunter were around today, and had not taken himself out (yes, I’m still pissed at him for that, I miss his voice in this world) he would be describing Obama as “the perfect blend”.
Does he know and play the political game? Of course he does. He has to. No one becomes President any other way. But no President in living memory could represent what he stands for, and could have stood in that pulpit, and delivered that eulogy in the way that he did. He did so from his heart, with conviction and passion, and in a way that showed what Christian ideals are when they are understood and lived properly, regardless of the theology. The social side of the church. He did not bow, or hide his faith, nor did he trumpet it as better than any other. Indeed, he spoke of the church’s actions in fighting actively for change as representing not just Christians, but all Americans.
In a time with so many divisions, Barack Obama is a courageous, tireless, intelligent, passionate, unifying force. Sisyphus with a mission. Sisyphus with a quiet stubborn streak. This man is something we have not seen in leadership in a longtime. He is an inspiration.
I am willing to bet that Hunter would have admired Mr.Obama a great deal. Would he have found some stuff to be cynical about and written about that? Of course he would. But looking at the span of what could have been his lifetime – from Richard Nixon, whom he viewed as the epitome of evil, all the way up to Obama, and the escalation of changes in between, I am convinced he would have seen Obama as just that – the perfect blend, and the person America, and the world, was ready for and needed.
May the remainder of his term give him the leeway to continue the path he is on, and has been on from the beginning, and may his legacy become clear in his lifetime, and even moreso in the history to be written.