The boundaries between a politician and a pop star are blurring with every minute people in the park of Fort Wayne, Indiana, listen to Barack Obama speaking.
He looks serious, sometimes worried, but every now ant then a smile rushes over his face. And even the least impulse is approved by the audience with screaming and cheering. The Rolling Stones or Tom Jones wouldn’t have done better.
Obama is a handsome guy, in good shape, moving with a feeling for his body on stage, the sleeves of his white shirt without a tie rolled up. He moves as if floating some inches above the panels of the construction that puts him above the heads of the most people so that everybody can see him.
He has to fight harder since his statement about small town America getting bitter and clinging to guns or religion and even more since his former pastor Jeremiah Wright attested to all his former remarks on race and politics in the U.S.. That proofed once more that you don’t need an enemy if you really have a good friend. And Hillary proofs again and again that you do not need a Republican if you have a Democratic opponent.
Obama is in troubled waters. But it seems that he can walk these waters and still perform well. His moves are controlled but smooth. He doesn’t fire the claims of his campaign at his audience. His words pour constantly out of his mouth, among them some little slips of the tongue, as if he would try to carefully embed the people in the park into his political program. This man is charismatic. He is convincing. And he seems authentic. A characteristic rarely found among politicians.
That also might be one of his handicaps in this campaign. He believes that U.S. politics have to change and argues in favour of a different political culture: “We have run a positive campaign!” he asserts several times in his speech (that is the only remark obviously pointed at Hillary Clinton). He wants it to come true that you can tell the truth and become president without muckraking. It might be that he will fall victim to his own wishes and assumptions. But listening to him and watching him speak I think: it’s worth trying it.
His campaign could nevertheless care more about details. Standing on the stage for the TV cameras I can observe that they will rarely be able to shot Obama in a frontal perspective. He is talking to his audience and either nobody told him that he occasionally should turn to the media or he has just forgotten about it. The voters might be the ones that count for this Tuesday. But in a media driven society you always have to take into account that a bigger part of them won’t be in the park but in front of the TV set at home.
At the rally for Hillary in Indianapolis I carefully scanned the audience and spotted ONE black woman (there were no black people at all at the Clinton event in Angola). At Obamas park picnic almost three quarters of the people attending are black. America is an integrated country? No, it still isn’t. And becoming aware of this while listening to Obama, a person always addressed in the media as a black man with a white mother, never the other way round, I feel doubts. As a matter of fact America is ready for this kind of person as president: with a multinational, multicultural background, having lived trough the experiences of diversity in his own life. That’s what the USA should be ready for because they need it desperately. Whether they are ready for a black president? I still can’t tell.