Clearing the air | india | Hindustan Times
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Clearing the air

Barack Obama seems to be struggling to make himself understood. Are we missing something here?

india Updated: Jan 20, 2010 23:01 IST

If there’s one problem that we edit writers face, it is making ourselves clear. Now insignificant souls like us can afford to compromise on the principle that clarity begins at home. But not so the most powerful being on earth. And here, he himself is in no doubt on how clear he makes himself. “Let me be clear,” were the words with which he introduced himself to America at the 2004 Democratic Convention. As for his patriotism, “Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country.” He is absolutely clear on what health reform means for his country and equally clear that al-Qaeda is lurking around in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He’s even clear that the Nobel is not a recognition of his own accomplishments.

But to us, the less visually enhanced, his journey so far seems a bit of a haze. If he is clear that Osama’s boys are loitering around in Pakistan and Afghanistan, why are we not clear as to how he’ll nab them? As for health reform, his 20/20 vision has not rubbed off on his countrymen, still trying to figure out what Dr Obama’s prescription has in store for them. And why was the Nobel gong sent along to the White House, if he’s clear about it not being about his nifty dance moves? Was it in anticipation of the musical on his story? Or was it for Michelle’s sartorial savvy?

We need him to be more clear on this. But may we give old eagle eyes a bit of advice? As long as you’re opaque on an issue, your detractors can’t pin you down on it or hold you to your words later. This is how we avoid litigation. Perhaps a little less of the vision thing could help when people don’t see eye to eye with the world’s main man.