Barrack Obama holds a few records as it relates to the United States Presidency: first black president, youngest living president (having served two terms) and most importantly, at the time of his appointment, he was the single most anticipated agent of change for the entire world. It was therefore not surprising that skeptics labelled him the Anti-Christ as never before had an individual been so admired and called upon to restore hope to the people, especially those that he served directly, the American public. His campaign phrase ‘yes we can’ was based on his acknowledgment of the power of the people, whom he recognized as the real and most effective agent of change as he was appointed by them. It is this ideal idea that (in my opinion) links him to a prominent character in a little movie called “V for Vendetta.”
V for Vendetta
‘Remember, remember the 5th of November…’
V for Vendetta is a 2006 film which when advertised as a coming attraction no doubt fitted into the category of action and so many rushed to the cinemas to witness high kick and uppercuts. Unfortunately, very little of this was displayed as the essence of this flick was to highlight the fact that the people should never be in fear of the government; it is the government that should fear the people. Through a series of carefully planned events, this ideal was achieved and with the success of the main character, (who remained faceless, fearless and nameless throughout the entire movie) one wonders what it would take for him to achieve this sort of one man revolution in our world. The setting is 21st century England and the main character is simply called V. He wears a mask for the duration of the flick and by doing so, this faceless man forced viewers, as well as other characters, to pay attention to the idea he represents and not him. He was misunderstood and labeled negatively as a masked vigilante and a psychotic terrorist. However, throughout the movie he became respected as an agent of well deserved change, whether is was good or bad. In this futuristic film, fire and water signified rebirth (for V and his protege Evy) and the birth of an ideology. This ‘rising from the ash’ or ‘cleansing’ routine was symbolic of newness: a new mind, a new body, a new spirit and a renewed will. A victim of political experiments, brainwash and covers ups, he vowed vengeance on the persons enforcing this status quo; a quo that saw to the death of persons of different sexual orientation, religion, race, cult, class or creed. In short, the government was willing to capture and kill any one who opposed their system and their sole purpose was to instill fear guaranteeing a subjective population while remaining a ‘unifying agent.’ As a result of this injustice and with a clear purpose of opposition and vendetta, V was empowered to take on the English heads of government.
The other main characters in this movie were the government, its enforcers (the elites) and the mass. V set the date, time and place for a major event that would no doubt create anarchy for the control driven government. In order for this to be believable, he simulated an event and followed through to ensure that he would get the government’s attention as well as the trust of the people. A key part of his plan was to make public his plans by taking control of the government-controlled media. He made a solemn declaration to the people to tear down the establish order. He managed to overthrow the government and the elites by turning them against each other, and then got true satisfaction by having them kill each other. From then on, his job was made easy as he now allowed the people to choose change and this they did. Essentially, he vowed and acted to change the political system of his country by taking the power from the government and placing it into the hands of the people, with a motto of strength through unity; unity through faith. His orchestrated Domino Effect was clear when he got the people to participate in a march against their oppressors, while he literally blew up the parliament building amidst fireworks. The colors of red and black signified passion and strength for V’s beliefs, while his chosen mask displayed a permanent smirk as he mocks and teased the government officials into his game of overpowering and overthrowing. All they could do was watch from the sidelines and in the end, the good guys won and the bad guys lost.
‘Remember, remember the 4th of November…’
An IDEAL is an imaginary standard of perfection. An IDEA is a plan, intention or design; a way of thinking or conceiving something – simply put, it is a view. The Platonic belief of an ideal is that it is an archetype, a perfect and eternal pattern of which actual things are imperfect copies. On the other hand, Kantians believe that an idea is a conception of pure reason transcending mere experience. To V, ‘the idea of fairness, justice and freedom are more than just words’ and should form the ideal foundation for any government which has the interest of its people at its core. Therefore, in an ideal word, the government is liable to the people and should act in accordance with methods defending the rights of its people. Anyone or thing that deviates from this ideal should then be held accountable by the people who maintain the power to effect change.
But, many will argue that if ‘an artist uses lies to tell the truth and politicians use it to cover the truth’, what is it that makes Barack Obama different, seeing he is also a politician? Well, the proof was in the pudding. As president of the United States of America, a more perfect stage could not be asked for, for Mr. Obama to represent his people (black people, Americans and especially the youths) and put to rest, the speculation that all politicians lack transparency. Some believed that Mr. Obama’s regime clearly was in opposition to the established order, brought about and enforced by his predecessors. For example, he brought a humane touch to the white house. Besides being president, he was seen as father and husband more so than any other. His domestic policies were for the benefit of the middle and lower classes and as it relates to his foreign policies, he was been able to have talks with world leaders that would not have sat down with other President, if for nothing else, the respect of it. He changed the reputation of America and the majority seemingly appreciated this change regardless of religion, class, color and orientation.
As V’s master plan unfolded with fireworks, orchestra and music, one saw that Mr. Obama’s leadership from beginning was as much a great spectacle. He ran an individualistic campaign, whereas everyone felt as though the onus was on him or her to act for the preservation of his rights. His timing was no coincidence as it was indeed a time for hope and a representation of unity. Obama rose to the occasion after years of careful and strategic planning just as V, who claims that ‘I, like god, do not play with dice and do not believe in coincidence.’ And so V had spent twenty years (20) years planning, ten (10) of which was used to clear the tracks that led directly to parliament and one (1) in which he involved the people and asked them to join him. This mirrored Mr. Obama’s road to the presidency as his foundation was rock solid. The tracks he laid to parliament were not seen until he suddenly emerged but there was no questioning his ability to effectively create an identity and commonality with the people he served. The demolition of the Old Bailey Building in England and the Parliament building in the movie is symbolic of an old rule being suppressed, leaving room for new landmarks. So did Obama represent a new landmark in American history or rather, world history.
Through his ideals (imaginary standard of perfection), Obama snuffed out the idea of America being about world domination and softens this with the idea of world unity. This significant gesture was a call to action for the American people who had to unite around him and his cause. With this, he brought the idea of hope for ‘social misfits’ and even perfect people. Though we can all agree that no politics is perfect, one can argue that with the power being place in the hands of the American people, under his guidance and motto of ‘yes we can‘, there was be a difference. As V said, ‘symbols are given power by people, by itself it is useless.’ This shows the need for support from all who stand to benefit because a lack of fear to act from any people will lead to freedom.
Based on conversations I had, many thought that someone would have tried to harm Mr. Obama. But, unlike V who suffered for an idea or his ideal, Mr. Obama lived for it. V declared that beneath the mask he wore there is more than flesh; beneath his mask was an ideal and ideals are bullet proof. And so as he dies, his ideal lives on. Mr. Obama is this same kind of icon and even though change is hard, the change that he provided was appreciated by those who are willing to serve in later days.
The American people allowed their voices to be heard loud and clear and so exercised their franchise; a vote is that important. Back then I hoped that change was a mental renewal, a psychological healing and physical strength, not only on an individual level but as a country, so America could become a model for the world. I hoped that many would have remained grateful to Mr. Obama for giving them hope or at the very least a renewed sense of hope. I hoped that he would have disembark from the trail of political lies and deceit, relying on truth, as it will be the catalyst to fuel trust that the world so longed to feel and for the change we so badly craved.
What do you think of the outcome of his presidency? Let me know in the comments.