Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Performance for a Presidency in Peril


Barack Obama's triumph was favored by history. The conditions that emerged at the precise point of his arrival and the sentiment of the youth long jaded by their disdain for politicians, joined by the more enlightened older citizens who risked the familiar standards for leaders, to invest in hope; have ushered him into the limelight of the global stage. His success or failure will determine whether or not a non-white will ever again be elected President of the United States. The times called for a historic moment, but the moment will come when it is time for his performance to be judged by history. And therein lies the peril.

Today, he is a symbol of change, but transforming the symbol into more concrete and meaningful terms for a deeply divided society after a bitterly fought contest remains vague. Its timetable indefinite. Other sectors of American society have, like the African Americans, also experienced discrimination - perhaps not as extensive as the slavery and persecution of the other half of his race - but substantially significant. All these sectors have high expectations that his call for unity of all classes and races, genders and faiths will translate into a rebirth of American society that will afford them the equality that has long eluded them.

Mr. Obama's promised tax cut to 95% of Americans, access to better health care for over 45 million citizens, a huge number of teachers provided with better salaries to improve the school system, are all money draining efforts that go on top of a budget deficit of around $500 billion and a national debt that could breach the $11 trillion mark. Foreign policy is a defining area for any President, and here he will be faced with two wars that cannot be won conventionally nor ended definitely. Both wars burden the economy, yet he must fulfill the Afghanistan promise of an end to the conflict that has already spread to its ambivalent Pakistan ally. He must also mind the nuclear ambitions of Iran and seek a withdrawal from Iraq without unduly enhancing Iranian influence in the region. A task that requires the strength of Hercules and the wisdom of Solomon.

There are, however, two elements that could tide him over - the goodwill that he generated worldwide and his masterful eloquence in communication. How far that goodwill will take him by way of getting the international community to support his initiatives may be dependent on trade-offs he may have to negotiate. Whether these trade-offs would be acceptable to a yet divided but watchful nation deserves serious consideration. He will then have to use his gift for communication - especially when events turn dark, promises are deferred, or doubts persist - to synthesize situations and extract its essence; and to outline the country's directions to overcome any obstacle in its path to a just and humane society. He will need all the graceful eloquence of his words to uplift the spirit of a nation broken by the unconscionable acts of the high and mighty.

For President Obama, failure is a gargantuan luxury, and there will always be those lurking behind dark intentions to see that success is kept at a distance, while scandal is a breath away. It would seem that an African American holding a powerful position would safely deliver all other ethnic groups on the road to equality. This is an illusion at worst and wishful thinking at best, for it will be a Presidency that will perform in constant peril. If not from the enemies of America, it will be from the enemies of hope and change.

Harrrrwwwwk...Twoooooooph...Ting!

19 comments:

Bainsey said...

It's great to wake up and read an intelligent blog post for a change - Obama has his limitations - he's a human being after all - still well done America - you made the right choice.

Zhu said...

I totally agree with you. I like Obama and admire his career so far, but he also came at the right place/ right time. People have to be realistic - he is no messiah.

As you mentioned, good will may help him though, but some tough times are still ahead.

Tapline said...

Brad, Good Post. We will have to wait and see what miracles materialize when he takes the reigns.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Brainsy,

WELCOME!

Thanks for the kind words.

Yes, America made the right choice, I agree. But the countries of the world had selected him too as America's leader even before the US elections.

Still, it was their vote that put him there, and with that one act alone, the US image in Europe and Asia had a positive transformation.
:-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

Goodwill can only go so far. A serious mistake could easily erode whatever there was in store. Concern should also be for those who look up to him as a messiah, because this is an extreme emotion which, when disappointed, could lead to extreme actions as well.

It will take perhaps his entire 4 year term before any sign of relief is in sight. The world is just now experiencing the whiplash of the crisis which began in America. All this will be borne on Obama's shoulders.

I wish him all the luck and support he can get. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tapline,

You're right . The US and the world needs miracles. I am of the belief that the planet has run out of miracle makers, unless one has been reincarnated in Obama. LOL! :-) --Durano, done!

The Fitness Diva said...

I know that it will be a daunting task to get this country back on track, but I know that Obama will do his absolute best to get it done.
Hopefully he will have some cooperation on many fronts.

I'm expecting good things from him, and while he might not be able to deliver on all, I'm sure will will see some major improvements in a few areas.

SheR. said...

I've not been following the elections closely. But I would like say, let's all wait and see before we pass our verdict on this man who has seemed to charm the whole world over. Impressive!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

I have no doubt of his intention or capability to do much for the country he has sworn to serve.

It's just that the Secret Service notes that assassination plots usually spike after an election until the inauguration, but in this case, it is unusually high - and they fear for his safety.

Also, expectations of certain sectors may be too much, and it is, at times, those people who expect so much who are driven to extremes when they are disappointed.

Like you, i hope he gets the support he needs. America's problem, and that of the rest of the world are too much for one man. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Sher, my dear friend,

I am not passing a verdict on Barack Obama, but merely pointing out the difficulty of what he faces, to make people realize he needs assistance, patience from those with expectations, and understanding for what may be experimental policies or decisions.

I'm sure he is aware of what the costs of mistakes will be, and the difficulty of setting priorities for action - especially with the bitter Republican conservatives waiting to create mountains of criticism and even calls for impeachment for a small error.

Like you, I am one of those who was impressed and charmed by this eloquent man, but the symbol he has become, of hope and change, must find translation into the meaning of the lives of citizens in America who now face the daunting struggle to rise above the recession brought on by the Bush incompetence, lies, and machinations.:-) --Durano, done!

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