Galileo Galilei famously said “sad is a world that is in need of heroes” and for a long time it was clear that, at least in the political world, people like me needed a hero. For a long time, I felt underrepresented in political office and my hopes of making it on the big stage were slim. Then, starting in 2008, a new political triumvirate (although only two of the men overlap their time in office) created a new wave of hope for aspiring politicians not unlike myself.
2008 was a very exciting year, then eternal underdog Novak Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title, Pope Benedict XVI came to the United States, Vladimir Putin became Prime Minister (between his presidencies), the stock market crashed, and the least surprising member of this trio became president of the United States. Barack Obama becoming president was, politics aside, a big moment for black people everywhere as “the leader of the free world” became one of their own. Even I, someone who often downplays the important of race, found it meaningful to see a candidate of an ethnic minority win on such a big stage. Barry O’s presidency was important politically, notably for the implementation of Obamacare, but it was even more important personally as not since the reign of Alexander Severus had anyone of African descent held such an important position in the western world. Seeing Obama in America’s highest office gave me new hope for my potential future in the world of politics.
Nine years later in 2017, 1 year after the end of Obama’s time in office, a new hero emerged, in France this time. Emmanuel Macron created and nurtured his own political party En Marche and at the first time of asking landed himself in the Élysée palace. Manu and En Marche represent the first truly successful third party that does things by its own rules. EM created the formula to turn one man’s idea into a viable force in the political sphere. With the shambles and absolute polarity found in most countries two big parties it was a breath of fresh air to see someone outside the two main parties make his mark on the political landscape. What Macron was able to do paved the way for someone like me to campaign on the back of their own politics instead of ceding to the big guns in the traditional right and left.
Most recently in 2019 Boris Johnson became the new prime minister of the UK. With little stake in the British economy (just some shares in Combini Co.) my views on Brexit are effectively irrelevant. Instead of his politics, it is his personality that has raised him to hero status. In a world of fragile egos and plutophobia Boris has decided to ignore both. BoJo himself states that while most politicians hide their incompetence with a thin veneer of competence, he chooses to hide his competence with a (thick) veneer of incompetence. Boris is the most human politician to have the limelight. Whether it be telling you the price of champagne when asked about value bread or giving far too much detail about how he likes to paint busses on old milk cartons in his spare time he knows exactly who he is and embraces it every step of the way. Johnson has the uncanny ability of getting away with just about anything and not through perfuse apology but by just being his charismatic self. Boris Johnson truly is the embodiment of the people’s hero; he is no better than you or I and isn’t afraid to show his imperfections. Boris is human and the fact that he is human and prime minister is both comforting and empowering. I’ve made many mistakes in my university career and in the year to come hope to make many more. None on the level of the Bullingdon club but it is heartening to know that whatever level of proper “UNAYYYY” behaviour I get up to in the years to come I can charm my way out of it. Boris Johnson is there as a hope that for every time I make a joke I shouldn’t or break something I shouldn’t, I can laugh it off and still make a possible push to a promising political career.
Barack taught me that I could, Emmanuel taught me how and Boris taught me that I still could no matter how many mistakes I make in the build-up. The world of politics has found its heroes and they’ve carved a path for my future political career.