My name is Hannah and I am an American. Well, 50 per cent of me is anyway. Up till now it’s not something I’ve ever been keen to open up about – admit you’re American and the atmosphere inevitably turns glacial; think Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce stuck in a lift and you get the general gist.
After all, it is a nation where 45 per cent of people believe in ghosts and seven per cent would commit murder for $10 million dollars. When a man meets a cow in Minnesota, he is required by law to remove his hat, and in Chicago, it is illegal to go fishing whilst wearing pyjamas – who am I to defend the indefensible?
But as I sit here, drenched under the weight of more rain than you could throw a mile of hosepipe, several sprinklers and an ornamental fountain at, and with nothing but endless footage of a damp, jogging Jeremy Hunt filling the television screen, I have instead turned to my American heritage in search of a glimmer of optimism not yet marred by Murdoch. Forget novelty tumblrs (Drake with no eyebrows/ Michael Buble being stalked by a Velociraptor/ Benedict Cumberbatch as an Otter have all had their moments in the sun), it is videos of Barack Obama that are now filling those long, empty days in the library.
The fact is, after all these years of shame, Obama has finally made it acceptable to be American again. No longer burdened solely with the shame of inflicting morbid obesity upon the world and electing Arnold Shwarznegger to a position of power, us closet Americans can finally come out from the shadows to show there is more to US politics than terrorism and cheeseburgers.
Watching Barack slow jam the news with American chat show host Jimmy Fallon this week (a clip, by the way, you should all look up) literally gave me heart palpitations, and his rendition of an Al Green song last year rivalled the Gettysburg address in terms of rousing political spirit. Yes, politically he may be flawed, but as my hours of watching prove, there’s nothing like a little soul and sex appeal to get people interested in deficit reduction.
What is it about British politicians that makes them inherently so uncool in comparison? Maybe it’s a case of the grass always being greener, but put Ed Miliband next to Barack Obama and I think you will all agree that it would take more than a few pairs of rose-tinted glasses for the two to compare on any level, political or otherwise. I’m hardly suggesting we adopt the American perma-tan route, all holding hands and balloons with little substance in-between, but the fact remains that British politics is lacking in any personality at all.
Simply compare Obama at the Correspondent’s Dinner to George Osborne at the GQ awards and you really have case in point. Last year, Obama, with a smile that would melt even Nadine Dorris’s icy heart, played the Lion King opening credits as his ‘birthing video’- it was smart and it was funny and it annihilated his opponents’ scaremongering in one fell swoop. On the other side of the Atlantic, George “less charisma than a tomato” Osborne made what has to go down in history as the most inappropriate joke about wanking. Never has an event room witnessed such a collective cringe.
I have little advice to offer our seemingly stale politicians. I am not about to condone David Cameron confessing a similar enjoyment of Lil’Wayne post-PMQs, and Nick Clegg wouldn’t know cool if it took the form of Ed Balls and danced naked in front of him. But, as Barack has demonstrated, a little soul goes a long way. And yes, this may simply read as an ode to Obama – well, to be quite frank it is. Fuck it. He’s amazing.