When the surrealist and uber eccentric painter Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it,” he clearly could never have meant US President-elect Barack Obama. For not only has the first-ever black American President reached a state of perfection, he seems to have surpassed it. Those whom he is often compared with were comfortingly imperfect. Both J.F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were mega charismatic but both so terribly flawed. Just like the rest of us.
But after a 21-month campaign, can you recall the pristine Obama putting a foot wrong? He has come right up to and beyond the acceptance speech and still no flies on him. What greater perfection can there be than a handsome, Harvard-educated, liberal of mixed blood, with a super-intelligent wife with supermodel looks and two adorable children who show great political promise in crowd handling? Does this man have any mortal flaws? During the campaign, he assured us that he too can get down and dirty like the rest us when he told us that he enjoys the occasional glass of wine and a steak. How very daring! Oh, and as his wife told us, he took time off to take her out on her birthday and buy her white flowers. Do they make them like that anymore? He has eyes only for Michelle, is for renewable energy, is anti-war and inclusive beyond belief.
When histories are written, it is the familiar imperfections that endear a leader to people, the thought that he was a regular guy like the rest of us. As Obama gears up to lead a flawed world, maybe we’ll at last get to see a few chinks in that perfect, shiny armour.