Monday 19 January 2009

A secular prayer for Barack Obama, a politician

Let Barack Obama accept our prayer that he should be the great President of our dreams.

Let him restore hope in America by sharing its opportunities more fairly and achieving security for all who are ill.

Let him be President of America and a citizen of the world, who helps us to believe again in the better America of the Marshall Plan and the founding of the UN, joining with us to help secure a new economy, our planet for future generations, and a fair Middle East peace.

Let him be the President who helps us all to chart the new progressive course which had seemed so necessary and yet so hard to find for so long.

Or let him be less than a miracle worker.

So let him, in truth, be the President who works tirelessly for change from the inside, who brings gradual progress for brave causes even if he never delivers the new Jerusalem. Yet let his arguments and ideas, his achievements and setbacks, leave more people than before believing that the struggle should go on.

Let him, even, disappoint, and try again, and yet fail to quench the thirst of a generation for change. Let him at least provoke others to argue about his legacy, and to try to write a new script of their own.

Let him be a politician.

Let him be a man as well as an icon of hope.

Let history honour his achievement of being the first black President, but let him be the 44th President too.

Let him accept the burden of the dreams we project on to him, but let him explain to us too that the expectations we have of him conflict and contradict each other.

Let him inspire a wider belief that politics matters - but let him remind us too of what politics demands.

So let him help us to change the way we talk to and about each other. Let him challenge us to pursue our values, ideals and interests – and remind us that other people have differing ideals and interests too. Let him help to teach us again to disagree with each other passionately and with respect.

Let him remind us that to compromise in the pursuit of our ideals need not be to sell out but can be noble and principled – because democratic negotiation is how we share a society in peace, and can make progress within it.

Let him challenge us too to forge agreements from our differences, to recognise our growing interdependence with each other, and to commit to pursuing our common good.

So let him continue to restore hope to politics – and use that hope to ask us whether we are prepared to make the commitments and sacrifices without which he could not hope to meet the great expectations that we have of him.

Let Barack Obama be the leader that our times demand.

But let him remind us too that we will have the politics and politicians we deserve.


Robert said...

I think he will be a different kind of leader I hope so.

Sadly we in the UK have no such luck we are stuck with two major parties who have no idea what the hell to do. they are attacking the poorest to meet the high demands of Bush, Labour has lost it's faith in socialism, the Tories never had any.

Unknown said...

You've really got into the spirit of things Sunder - I'm glad you called it a secular prayer or else I would have been worried!

I was pleased that Obama added 'non-believers' at the end of a list of religions - it it my imagination or did he do it with a slight pause for added emphasis? He has an engaging way when he speaks of making each word hold a special significance - everything is deliberate.