We enjoyed a brief but very nice double rainbow on the way in to the office this morning. Some people were walking down the road toward us, so they couldn’t see it. When I stopped to take a photograph they thought, at first, that I was shooting them. When I pointed into the sky and said, “Promis!” they all knew what it was and turned around for a look:
The Tok Pisin word for rainbow is promis (pro-meess) from the English work promise. The reason being, of course, that in the Old Testament, after God drowned everybody except Noah and his followers, God promised not to do it again. Well, he actually hedged and said that he wouldn’t use water to do it again. Then he invented the rainbow and stuck it up in the sky to remind everybody that he’d promised not to drown them again. Cute, eh?
However, that’s not what this post is all about. I’m was just wasting your valuable time.
This post is about, in my stupefyingly wacky opinion, how Americans think. More precisely, it’s about how we might encapsulate modern American thought in a way that anybody who can read can figure out a lot about us without going to too much trouble.
I’m going to lose a lot you here, especially some my American comrades of the rosy hue (the Red State inhabitants, not Communists). Nevertheless, I’m going to forge ahead into uncharted territory by suggesting that anybody who is wondering what it means to be an American and wants to get it in one easy-to-understand dose could do worse than to read Barack Obama’s (he wasn’t President when he wrote it) book, The Audacity of Hope. There, I’ve said it.
Here’s a photo of a framed woven thingie that Eunie made decades ago before we became cynical expatriates:
Upon it lies the book which has taken me over two months to read. I’m not usually such a slow reader. The reason that it took so long is that, on almost every page, there was some statement, concept, ideal or funny remark that I had to stop and think about for fifteen or twenty minutes. All that thinking really adds up.
It would be ridiculous for a goon like me to review the book for you. Therefore, I’ll just ramble on a bit about it.
There was little that I did not like, insofar as the politics go. That is, of course, because my left leg is shorter than my right one due to a broken femur. However, I did very much like the manner in which Obama presents the points and counter points. In my opinion, he seems always to strive to present a balanced view, sometimes at the expense of weakening his own position.
No one can argue that Obama is not an excellent writer. I found the book very enjoyable. His sense of humour comes through, along with a rather surprising humility which seems not to be feigned. We have to remember, of course, that no one in this day and age could be elected President of the U. S. of A. unless he has presented the world with a New York Times best seller.
The reason that I’m writing about the book is that many of my readers are not Americans – a large portion, in fact. Though probably half of my American readers will disagree with me, I’ll say it anyway. If you’re wondering what makes Americans tick, socially, politically, morally, religiously, in family life, etc. then read this book.
If you’re less than enchanted by political views to the left of Rush Limbaugh, give it a shot anyway. You’ll find it a fun read. You can enjoy the good bits and still have plenty to gripe about.