American Naiveté

An uncomfortably strange first and last name, a middle name that could evoke fear in some. Then there is the discussion of his degree of whiteness and blackness, inexperience, Bradley effect to name a few. Despite all these attributes, Barack Obama a Professor of the Constitutional Law, seemed like the oddest of ducks to run for the Presidency. He simply did not seem to fit in to the formulae of a typical American running for the President.

It aspires one to reach for the stars and fail in the process, rather than give up before trying.

Yet, he has made it and is soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. Now that he has won, there are endless theories about his success. Like the odds that seemed to be against him, the theories of his success are numerous and into this ring I would like to throw one of my own. The reason why he won, not just barely, but by such a resounding majority could be because of his seeming naiveté – A quality that is quintessentially American.

Not many countries have ‘Pursuit of Happiness’, as part of their national ideal and pursue the ideal diligently. That is the reason that gives plausibility to the notion that I call, the American naiveté.

A quality that, has propelled dreams and aspirations in this country. A relentless optimism, that is an antidote to inertia, and infuses youthful vigor into this country. This relentless optimism is what allows the people of this nation to obsessively persevere and allow for countless mistakes while working on an idea. For all the frustrations and the disappointments, it takes just one crowning success to wipe away all those failures and turn them into pioneers in several fields.

This is what makes people invest in abstracts, such as a fragment of imagination.

Credulity is a quality of youth. It is in fact the one thing that makes the older people look back at youth with overwhelming nostalgia and a degree of envy. It makes you believe in the impossible and the irrational. It aspires one to reach for the stars and fail in the process, rather than give up before trying. It makes life spontaneous and more enjoyable. It is the quality, that makes one rebound to normalcy, no matter how bad the fall. It doesn’t matter if you are being laughed at, it makes you get up, dust off the fall and start all over again.

It is this credulity, that makes people try new things no matter how silly or how ludicrous it may seem on the outset. It is this quality, that turns garages and attics into experimental laboratories and subsequently, quite a few millionaires.

The possibility that everyone could be someone, not because of one’s lineage or background or connections, not because of financial endowment, but because of one’s ideas, smartness and talent and the willingness to put in the required effort. That is what turns an ordinary country into a land of impossible dreams and a magnet for the immigrants who make it here. This is what makes hopes and dreams a possibility. This is what makes people invest in abstracts, such as a fragment of imagination.

It is this quality that has been absent for the past eight years that suddenly made a young country feel old. It is this quality that Obama has revived in his soaring speeches that drew hundreds of thousands to his rallies. He has made us believe in the impossible, like those rare leaders before him. He has made impossible promises, and the American people, true to their instincts responded overwhelmingly placing their trust in him.

6 thoughts on “American Naiveté

  1. I agree overwhelmingly. Very eloquently stated! America used to be a country that inspired people around the world by its mere mention. That feeling got swallowed by fear and mistrust somewhere and the resulting environment in which we work to carry out our diplomatic oeuvres, was working against our interests around the world. Let’s look forward to a different kind of journey for us all.

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  2. Commendable article on the rejuvenating american attitude towards politics and life as well.This election has truly rekindled the world’s outlook on politics.

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