Good Luck, Mr. Obama

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As I type this, there are about 2 hours left before President-elect Obama steps up to take the oath office, becoming the 44th president of the United States.

I’ve never been one for politics, but the infectious excitement present on the internet (don’t own a TV ūüėČ ) is catching. It is indeed a momentous occasion – the first Africa-American president of the US. ¬†However, the progress of racial equality almost takes second stage to the the tasks that Obama will need to take on as soon as he steps into the Oval Office.

Possibly the most pressing task he faces is that of guiding the country through what is the worst economic crisis in decades, one whose fallout is not only limited to American shores, but has spread to affect global economic market worldwide. Over 11,000,000 people are unemployed¬†in the US (or roughly 7.2% of the population); banks, enterprises, and businesses of all kinds that haven’t already failed are struggling to stay afloat. ¬†He also has to deal with ongoing war in Iraq (something by the way, that is being estimated to cost the United States around $3 trillion – that is 3,000,000,000,000), fixing the Social Security and Medicare systems, and much more. ¬†Frankly, the weight of the expectations surrounding this man scares me. ¬†The American public hope and expect so much from him that I don’t know how he can NOT be experiencing some trepidation at the work that lies before him. ¬†

It’s a safe bet to say that most people will be glad to see the current administration on its way out. ¬†However, it is hard for me to quantifiably judge George W. Bush’s legacy. ¬†I don’t think that the chaos he leaves behind is entirely his fault; certainly I feel that the blame for the financial fiasco lies more on the heads of the greedy bankers and executives that chose to pursue the ever-inflating trail of dollars rather than practice common sense. ¬†On the other hand, his constant persuit of the “War on Terror” has cost the US taxpayer trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. ¬†As one who is not well-versed on the ins and outs of politics (at least, beyond the news bites and articles I stumble across), I feel it is not for me to pass down judgement on GWB’s actions. ¬†I believe that he came to the office with good intentions, but likely succumbed in many ways to the arrogance that came from the power offered by his position – something I hope that Obama will better resist. ¬†

Hindsight of course is twenty-twenty, and I recall 4 years ago how enthusiastically the American populace embraced GWB’s re-election, seeking a strong leader in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. ¬†Today, most people are happy to see him go. ¬†I personally think that we won’t be able to judge GWB’s legacy for a while yet – it remains to be seen what the state of Iraq is like in, say, the next 5-6 years. ¬†Should that country be a strong, stable, and independent nation, I believe history will look a little more kindly on GWB’s decision to initiate the “War on Terror” – or not. ¬† ¬†But back to Obama.

Barack Obama faces a long and difficult road ahead of him, and I hope that he will be able to accomplish even half of what everyone expects from him. ¬†I worry that if Americans don’t see a “quick fix” forthcoming, that fear and uncertainty will cause further tremors in an already unstable economy, bringing about more downturns. ¬†I worry that the enormous stimulus plan (all $775 BILLION of it) that Obama is pushing for is merely going to devalue the dollar and push the American nation further into debt. ¬†I worry… well, I worry a lot. ¬†I just feel that the expectations that Americans have of Obama are too high and unrealistic.

I do admire his bravery and his apparent steadiness though.  In the face of so much pressure and expectations, not only from the American people but from governments and nations around the world, he seems remarkably calm.  He will undoubtedly face many challenges, both on a professional and personal level (another thing that worries me is that there are too many crackpots out there who will try to attack him or his family simply because of race) and I sincerely hope that he is up to taking on those challenges.  

Good luck Mr. Obama РAmerica is in your care for the next 4 years.  I hope and pray you are up to the task.

 

-NJ

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