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Before Barack Obama won the 2008 United States presidential election, an African American US president was an occasionally recurring theme in Hollywood movies and television shows, often set in far future – most notably in the 1972 ‘The Man’, the 1997 ‘The Fifth Element’, the 1998 ‘Deep Impact’ and others. It seems that Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 announced that the future had arrived and that the African American president can now be seen in the news, as well. This long awaited transition from movies to reality may have also inspired David Ehrenstein, the film critic who called Obama a “comic-book superhero”.

The Official Presidential Portrait of Barack Obama

Every taboo is broken

The 44th President of the United States of America is probably really perceived as a kind of a modern day superhero by his supporters because he himself represents a lot of what America really is. Obama is young (he was 47 at the time he first became President), he is of biracial origin (his mother was English, while his father was a Kenyan of Muslim background), he identifies himself as an African American,  he was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, he is a devout Christian, he has a Harvard and Columbia degree, he is a great orator who won the Nobel Peace Prize and was frank enough to speak openly about occasional marijuana use in his teenage years.

In a word, Barack Obama broke every taboo and every prejudice. He came to represent a fresh start, a new America and a new world that left its old misconceptions and old ways deep in the past and is now ready to step into the new age of freedom, wisdom, honesty and mutual respect between people of various ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds.

Official Portrait of the President and the First Family in The Green Room, 2009

A New Beginning

President Obama has often been compared to president John F. Kennedy because of his great eloquence and the unique talent to say the right, inspiring word at the right moment. This alone was (and still is) a much needed refreshment after the years of Bushisms. Obama’s quotes almost always go viral, but, to the contrary to his predecessor, they are not shared for fun and ridicule, but as wise and concise words of inspiration and hope. No matter what the results of his second term as a US president may be, one day Barack Obama will surely go down in history as the man who brought a glimpse of new hope, new beginnings, mutual respect and dignity and the man who at least tried to reconcile the superficial differences between people that have kept this world in hatred and wars for centuries.

One of the reasons for this is that Obama has all these differences in himself and that’s perhaps that special something  that makes him a great human being.


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