This article may not belong in the sports pages, yet I believe the analysis I am about to draw out of both Lewis Hamilton's My Story and Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, will reveal common lines between the boy and the man who have revolutionized their fields be it motorsports or politics.
Lewis Hamilton was the first ever black person to become an Formula One driver, he also became the most succesful rookie driver of all times last season scoring 109 points, adding a second place in the driver's standings to show for it, and wow factor beyond and above...
Barack Obama, on the other side of the pond, has clinched the Democratic nommination thus becoming the first ever black person to lead a party into presidential elections in the U.S.A., an achievement considering he beat early favourite Hillary Clinton.
Obama Vs Hamilton
Is there a case to compare a 23 year old athlete who still gets daddy to manage him 24/7 and a family man taking his own decision in the biggest arenas of all only shadowed by advisors and strategist? I definitely think the comparison is appropriate. For although both men are at different stages of their lives and their fates will have different impacts on the world, they are both making huge personal sacrifices to commit to their causes, and both are looking to achieve big things.
It is more than interesting to notice that Hamilton's succesful season last year and Obama's succesful bid for the Democrat Party Nomination this year just goes to demonstrate the opportunity is there for racial minorities to get out there and change the world.
Lewis Hamilton has proven a black driver can hold his own in F1; in the face of harsh critics and racist fans taunting him, Lewis has shown great spirits in not allowing himself to drop, far from it. The same applies for Barack Obama, for he has rallied so many votes behind him, his direct rival Hillary Clinton who kicked off as clear favourite to represent the Democratic party this fall, got caught and overtaken by the Obamania; she had to concede defeat before this summer's Democrat party convention. She has furthermore endorsed Obama's candidacy offering her full support in an attempt to rally the whole party and her voters behind him, which in essence should boost Obama's chance to beat McCain.
Lewis Hamilton may not be running for the big seat in the White House next fall, in the same spirit Barack Obama may have dreamed of it but he is not competing for the Formula One World Driver's Championship; yet equally both men could learn from one another experience and how both made an impact in their respective field. And how their fates could have impact of gargantuan proportions.
Biography - My Story
In my view Lewis Hamilton's biography My Story was premature-An attempt by greedy sponsors to make big bucks selling the young man's first season as an F1 driver. Obviously there were some advantages to publishing this book so early for nobody had done what Lewis achieved beforehand. Add to that his golden boy image and wow factor plus the fact he is the first ever black racer and the most succesful rookie to have raced in F1 and you get the recipe for what should have been a treat of a tome!
However having read this book I was left disappointed by the content and how it was written. On the upside it was an opportunity to learn about Lewis and how he fought his way through hardships and injustice-almost getting himself kicked out of school just proves how tough he really is. The book is interesting until the halfway mark, when Lewis reminesces about last season. What struck me most though is how he praised his then team-mate Fernando Alonso, considering how the media emphasized the rivalry between the two drivers, it was a complete surprise.
Yet my verdict is I have not garnered much from this book that I could not already find on the internet. But also the fact Hamilton's biography coming out this early in his career could be seen as an insult to other great drivers who carefully planned theirs after being in the game for much longer.
An agenda for change - The Audacity of Hope
Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope is not a biography, but more of a manifesto. In this book Obama does introduce himself and some of the daily challenges he faced as a student (back then), a law lecturer, and most importantly as a family man! I personally enjoyed reading The Audacity of Hope for Obama clearly analyses both domestic and international issues the U.S. is currently embedded in and how he intends to fix the music!!! His writting style and the words he uses are ever more exquisit in comparison to Hamilton's biography; which is not a surprise considering he is a law lecturer and a senator too! Obama defends his views ever so well, with sound argumentation, an analytical mind of academia level; what we are left with with is a profound genuine sense things can change for the better. That the alternative is possible.
Furthermore The Audacity of Hope definitely deserves its New York Times Best Seller status. I personally felt revived with hope and optimism in the face of challenging times ahead, with the energy crisis, food prices on the rise, a more unstable global environment as a result of growing concerns in the face of the rise of new superpowers such as China and India, and international threats from terrorist cells. In that context alone Obama clearly understands that America's strategy in the fight on terror will have to change drastically.
Moreover how America will maintain its standing in the world and how we can all benefit from cooperation is another central theme to Obama's foreign policy. This stands as a dramatic alternative to years of Neo-Conservative doctrine of "do as we say or else"...
Both Obama and Hamilton have the chance to write a page of history of their own making; there's never been a black champion in Formula One nor has a black person ever been voted in President of the United States. If both succeed in their quest for silverware for the former and power for the latter, they will mark their names as the first to have achieved the respective feat.
I succinctly believe they could learn from one another's experience and would find they went through similar challenges. Despite diverging career paths these two men will find they both carry hopes and a new vision in the fields they currently compete.
Both men stand on the verge of writing history, all I can say is that I was very pleased with Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope whilst somewhat disappointed by Lewis Hamilton's My Story.
In the end the morality in all matters is: Yes we can...