I was sat in the car. To the left of me I could see the wall of the garage. It probably wasn’t as near as I thought it was. To my right were a pile of tyres, recently removed from my car when I went to get the tyres checked and changed. Again, they were probably not as near as I thought they were. The audience comprised of a half a dozen or more mechanics, most of whom were probably a lot busier that I supposed. Two or three male customers stood beside the door to the waiting room, cigarettes stuck in mouths, mobile phones glued to their ears, probably not even watching.
Every fibre in my being wanted to ask someone else to reverse the car. I could have simpered with the best of simpering females, and smiled helplessly, but in that one manoeuvre I was aware that it was being witnessed not just by a bunch of men, but that the spirits of dead suffragettes, who had chained themselves to iron railings to ensure that I would have a vote, were also watching!
Even though I had an all male audience, and there were obstacles to the left of me, and obstacles to the right, I clamped down my panic, told myself boldy that I could do this, gently reversed my car out of the garage, confidently executed a three point turn and drove away!
I watched the other day as Obama was sworn in as President of the USA. With obstacles to the left of him, obstacles to the right and in full view of a watching world, he took on the mantle of leadership. Watching him were the spirits of every black civil rights campaigner, and every white civil rights campaigner, who had died in the struggle for freedom and equal rights.
If he manages all his political three point turns without hitting the wall, or the pile of discarded rubber tyres, his success is the success of every black person in US. And if he fails…well, failure is not an option.