Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama! Obama! Obama Mama Mia!


There is a song from my high school days (late fifties) from the film Parvarish with Raj Kapoor and Mehmood and sung by Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey. Freely translated, the song goes (mama being mother’s brother or any male guest) something like this:

“O mama! O mama! O mama-mama-mama!
Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo-yahoo-yahoo
The household is in a spin
Because of us and our din
Don’t get lost in the racket within.”

Now we yahoo for Obama’s win! As they say: Maan! He is Kewl! But what about the spin and the din and the racket within?

The Obamania confronting us every evening at prime time is becoming a little difficult to bear, what with the Saas-Bahu serial being withdrawn, and the ever-controversial Ganguly retiring from the cricket team.

It is good to see Bush off. What are we getting in turn? Does anybody know?

Obama has promised CHANGE. What CHANGE for what malaise?

As we all know subconsciously, the world is too complex for any single world leader to run it wisely and independently. Decisions are made for world leaders by smaller and smaller groups which are more and more dependent on computer projections from necessarily incomplete/untested computer programs. Scholarship, in any case, is a hindrance in making quick decisions regarding corporate profits as all governments must now do in this age of globalization.

Considerable faith has been put on Obama’s ability to deliver because of his colour and not because of his spoken record. He is in danger of being regarded as a Methodist hymn-singing Uncle Tom; as well-behaved (WASP-ish) African-Americans, such as Colin Powell or Condolezza Rice has been.

Times may have changed since the time (1852) when Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written. The attitude of the colour-independent masters towards colour-independent salaried slaves in various ways from workshops to HR to IT to research may some times still be described as in Uncle Tom’s Cabin (chapter 19):
… I may steal all he has, and keep it, and give him only such and so much as suits my fancy. Whatever is too hard, too dirty, too disagreeable, for me, I may set Quashy to do it. Because I don’t like work, Quashy shall work. Because the sun burns me, Quashy stall stay in the sun. Quashy shall lie down in every puddle, that I may walk over dry shod …all the days of his mortal life, and have such chance of getting to heaven, at last, as I find convenient. This, I take to be what slavery is.

Independent of our colour and social status many of us have the plight of slaves (Quashy). When one is governing to consolidate monetary profits the justification of slavery is dressed in various languages of show business (Let’s Party!). The mission of Obama may just be the delivery of slaves of all colours. He may also as well say as St. Clare did in Uncle Tom’s Cabin:
… what can a man of honorable and humane feelings do, but shut his eyes all he can, and harden his heart? … … I can’t turn knight errant and undertake to redress every individual case I see.

How did Obama win? There could be two views.

The first is that the Republicans lost deliberately. In real terms the victory of Obama is more a reflection of the disenchantment with Bush than an approval of Obama’s persona.

It is difficult, however, to imagine that Bush’s Republican Party, with its army of advisers, could have willingly brought itself to such a sorry state, that a Democratic candidate could have won with so little record of public service. The Republican Party leaders backed out of the nomination race early. There was no visible support from their party to the non-Washington Candidates!

On the other hand, Bush could claim to have achieved most of his stated American objectives. He has consolidated hold on oil in Iraq; Iran is afraid to posture; he has subsumed India’s non-alignment; he has silenced the entire Arab world’s voice on Israel.

Giving the “devil his due” Bush and his cronies may even have engineered the financial crisis to mop up profits on the stock market, which has been allowed to be driven to crazy heights. Who cares about winning or losing an election when you can manage a 700 billion dollar bailout. They could have known (say, in 2006) that a financial crisis was looming. Just hindsight the way our Tatas, and Mallya and HCL were seduced into buying up big companies!

The second view point available on the net is that the Obama campaign was properly crafted using a methodology that evolved on the way to the 2004 election. At that time an Aziz Poonawalla started a blog called Deans Nation that developed for the first time a strong a network through the net (netroot) that got the net-savvy younger generation in support for Howard Dean. It made a strong impression and Dean was an early front runner with strong anti-Bush sentiments. Dean lost media support once he (loudly) sounded anti-establishment. But Dean had got the message.

Dean saw to it that he became part of the Democratic Party Establishment as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee when he used his netroot experience to raise funds from millions of small donors of different hues (the rainbow coalition). He developed a “50-state” strategy to introduce Democratic policies to voters in Republican states. His strategy to get Barrack Obama elected as a candidate for the Democratic party using the Internet surprised and ambushed Hillary and Bill Clinton’s advisers.

So who will be running the country? Obama? or Dean’s Internet? Howard Dean sounded ominously self-congratulatory on CNN after the election. Obama’s men have started taking the credit without mentioning Howard Dean.

Who really gets the credit for the happy Democratic tunes? Will it be Obama or Howard Dean?

It reminds me of that lovely song “Sam’s Song” sung (Italian) Dean Martin and (Afro-American) Sammy Davies Jr. (I never found out who Sammy Davis Sr was). The lyrics of that song can perhaps be (writing Obam instead of Sam)

Dean: Here’s a Happy tune they call it Dean’s song
Obama: I’m saying, Dean, this is Obam’s song
Dean: Obam, you’re just a ham:
Obama: But Dean, here’s the scam
The song is named after Obam
Dean: Obam who?
Obama: Obama Hussein
Dean: Oh
May I say with pride where I reside
They call it Dean’s song
Obama: And that’s quite a group you have going for you.
Dean: There’s no bigger choir that you could hire for singing Dean’s song.

The saving grace is that Obama is handsome (watchable) with a good voice (hearable) and Gandhi’s Mickey Mouse ears (see picture on top) --- he cannot be evil. He has a little bit of many nations and many religions.

Other than that there is little we know of Obama. As his wife, Michelle, says “It helps that he is cute”. Like Ronald Reagan?! Is he going to be just a coloured WASP finally?

It is what exists between the ears that will matter. Between Mickey Mouse and Gandhi, Obama will have a tough choice.

Obama has not spoken Kennedy-lines such as “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for the country” as yet. What will the inauguration-day-one-liner be? Out-of-Africa as all learned mono-theists believe about evolution?

2 comments:

Rahul said...

Heh :)
Maan! He is Kewl! But what about the spin and the din and the racket within?

interesting part of the republicans doing this on purpose.

Anirban said...

There is this school of thought, one not commanding much attendence I am sure, that Gandhi was identified by the Brits as the bloke who would steer the growing Indian Independence movement from the dangerous violent one to a mild non violent one. The sahibs saw Gandhi as an insecure pacifist and deliberately irked him on that South African train so he would them go ahead and take charge of the freedom movement with his non violent ways - something which suited the imperialists just fine. Are the Republicans playing the Brit here - Obama is their Micky Mouse Gandhi?