Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The White House blog

I know, I know: everyday the same story: we open the paper, we turn the TV on, we check our inbox, we turn the radio on: everybody everywhere is talking about Obama. I wonder when this craze's gonna be over :P 
Since the most news I've read lately are about Obama and his presidency or his popularity, his decisions, his tasks, his speeches...well, I don`t have much else left to talk about.

As I mentioned in my previous post I consider myself as one of Obama's fans, but there was one little thing that was upsetting me about his decisions. He expressed the importance of taking care of the Middle East situation, he pronounced himself on relationships he would have with China, Russia and Europe, he said he would try to do something for Darfur and other African countries...but what about Latin America? Some people say his relationships with Cuba will improve, he did take action on Guantanamo...but what else? What about Mexico, Argentina, Brazil? This morning, when I got the paper, I had a nice surprise: Obama called Lula and said he would like to come and "pay a visit" to our country, or invite Lula to DC, in order to better discuss economic issues such as the openingof economic "barriers" in the American continent. So, we haven't been forgotten...

As I wrote before, I am a fan of Obama, and mostly for one reason: his attemts to address the people in a straightforward way, without relying too much media information (which, as we know, is not always "trustable"). I just found out he convinced members of the Government to keep the population updated on what was going on in the White House through a White House Blog, which is open to anyone who wants to read it. Of course, it's not Obama himself who writes it, but it is already something...

Another interesting thing is that, even though Obama had time and will to update the White House blog, he wouldn't be able to. As the president of the United States, he shouldn't be able to go online so much, he should renounce to his e-mail account and he was asked also to give up his inseparable Black Berry. But Obama didn`t surrender to that one: he fought for keeping his Black Berry and a personal e-mail account. Of course, all of this need to be approved by the Security Department, so they did let him keep a Black Berry (for the first time in History), but it needs to be a special one. According to the NYTimes, he got his new phone already, but he's not using it yet...

Finally, the last piece of news I read about the new president has to do with his readings. Apparently, he's always been the book worm kind of reader. Having spent most of his childhood in Indonesia, he learnt about American way of life and it History through books that his smother would encourage him to read. He's learnt a lot about life in general, American History, American identity, American Politics and World Politics thanks to the books he's always been keen on reading.

Some of his favorite authors are also mine, because they deal with "what it means to be a “divided child,” caught on the margins of different cultures, dislocated and rootless perhaps, but free to invent a new self" (quoted from Michicko Kakutani's article), like Derek Walcott, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing and Elizabeth Alexander. Identity, American Identity and the American country that gives people the possibility to build new selves is definitely something that appeals to the new US President. And this makes me admire him even more.

What really stroke me about Obama's readings is the difference from Mr Bush. According to Kakutani, Mr. Bush is also an avid reader, but he seems to face this more as a competition rather than something that can have a bigger impact on him. When he does follow what writers say, it's because they preach the Manicheist way to see things (black or white, good or bad, friends or enemies) that permeated his Politics. Obama seems also to be different from his "Brazilian colleague", Lula. Lula, in fact, doesn't make any effort in promoting reading, culture, knowledge and education among his people. Much on the contrary, he affirms that "reading the news makes him have a stomachache".

We definitely have something to learn from President Obama...don't we?  

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