Tuesday, May 24, 2011
THE AUDACITY OF HOPE
Myself and the Mother were at College Green on Monday to see President Obama. We had a placard made up and everything. It said ‘Obama: Best Black Ever!’ A garda took it off us though. Racist.
We had a lovely time anyway and even got to meet the great man. (The Mother’s a past master at the old Turkish Revenge and this got us to the front of the throng pronto.) When President Obama neared us, I reached out to him and roared ‘you’re a first rate black, absolutely first rate’. I could see from the look on his face that he was affected by my words. The Mother ruined it all though when, somewhat over-exuberantly, she thrust a tin biscuit assortments box in President Obama’s direction. We’d have been shot had the box not dropped to the ground and opened, revealing its innocent content of scones. ‘They’re better off on the ground anyway’, I said to The Mother, ‘they’d have only half poisoned him like they do me’. The Mother scowled and flashed her blade so I said no more about it.
On the way home, The Mother and I discussed President Obama’s speech and it got us thinking about the power of words. ‘You know The Mother’, I said, ‘you can change almost anything just by saying a little something. You can empower people. You can enable them to rise to challenges’.
The Mother agreed and cited MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, JFK’s ‘ask not’ inaugural address and Brian Lenihan’s ‘patriotic duty’ outburst as well as the time King George VI told everyone to batter the Nazis because they were even more anti-Semitic than he was. ‘Indeed The Mother’, I said, ‘if they are spoken well and if they are properly heard, the right words can turn almost any negative into a positive and bring hope where once there was none’.
It was then we remembered Uncle Larry, laid out in James’ Hospital and in need of a pep talk. ‘Let’s bring Larry a bit of Obama magic’ suggested The Mother so we hopped off the bus and went to visit him. I am sad to say that myself and The Mother’s voluminous and constant chanting of ‘is féidir leat’ at Larry's bedside did little to put his tennis ball sized tumour into remission. Uncle Larry passed away later that evening. The Mother and I returned home deflated by the realisation that, no matter how well expressed, sometimes words are not enough.