United States elections always bring to mind boxing metaphors. Each election season, pundits call on images from the boxing ring to capture the various dynamics of the ongoing fight for the seat of power.
This Inauguration Day, boxing fans can be proud that the man who just became the 44th U.S. president has a personal respect for the Sweet Science.
Boxing gloves are an important symbol in Barack Obama’s history. In his book The Dreams of My Father, Obama describes his teenage experience of being taught how to box by his stepfather.
Barack's stepfather taught his stepson two critically important life lessons when he brought two pairs of boxing gloves home after Barack came home complaining of the unfairness of being hit by a boy at school. These were: (1) defend yourself at all times, and (2) the man who can win a fight can control his own destiny.
With his mixed-race heritage, Obama embodies one kind of man who seeks triumph in the ring—the underdog, a man claiming a spot of wisdom outside of the majority culture. He showed the strength, intelligence, and skill necessary to claim a position of power, and his stepfather's boxing lessons were a step on his climb to an improbable knockout in November’s election.
Hopefully these steps will lead him to a successful and prosperous presidency.