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Column: Can Obama Turn The Audacity Of Hope Into Action?

This story was written by Michael Caylo-Baradi, Daily Californian

Looking closer into the phrase "Audacity of Hope" - the title of one of Barack Obama's books-one realizes that there's something slightly or even profoundly subversive to it, because it points at the idea of hope not as an overused idea that furnishes or approximates moral elegance to political and religious speeches but that it empowers the idea of hope itself, and gives it a dimension of materiality, of inevitable realities. The phrase empties out the emptiness in mere hoping and pushes hope into the realm of action. Obama's life is an example of that. And one can argue that the Obama before the election campaign is just a prelude to what's ahead of him, but what a prelude that is.

The part of our imaginations that loves to elevate personalities into iconic myths would love to imbue Obama's presence in the political sphere as nothing short of messianic, because we love the idea of somebody about to save our current situation. But I resist the idea that his presence is messianic, that he's the one who'd bring some sort of salvation.

For me, he is not from any realm of heaven at all, but rather from this earth, from its intimate hard struggles and knows something about it, especially dealing with it. Obama's personal ownership of this struggle is indelible to his outlook, an outlook that I wouldn't consider vision, because even the idea of "vision" is loaded with heavily politicized dimensions of fakery. In some ways, when one is not careful, this struggle can lapse into quiet disregard in our imagination, because once recorded in the space of published autobiography, the details of his life is submerged in the fluidity of well-constructed prose and somehow become fictive, even cinematic. But then we humans have natural meters for irony and can read between the lines in that fluidity, which includes Obama's weaknesses and strengths and their gray combinations in-between.

Many who see Obama - the physical person - are still confronted by moments of grayness, of inevitable in-betweens, indecisions, specifically because of the burden of the history of race on earth, especially in this country. The sense of color in their eyes pause and ask, even after knowing about his high polls everywhere before Election Day, if, indeed, they are ready for somebody like him. They are caught in a quiet or chaotic debate on their positions regarding race. It is an eventful pause that, for many, will not end at the ballot box.

Before the 44th White House resident was announced, there was a projected winner already, so glaringly passed around the Internet like a presidential inauguration. Obama taking the White House is merely adding a new reality to the audacities of his hopes for himself and his family, in which, this time, it is a reality in a form of a country, ironically a "struggling superpower" that sits near or at the center of the world.

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