Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Best of Luck, Buddy

Barack Obama has been officially sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. And boy, he's got some work to do.

People are wondering if he'll "live up to the hype", as if he's a new movie, first-round draft pick, or Harry Potter book. What people don't seem to realize - although, eventually I would imagine the glimmer will wear off - is that Obama will not be able to do anything alone.

Lest we forget that he's taking charge of a country that's not exactly at the top of its game. The Senate and the House are both in the hands of the Democrats (58.2% and 59.0%, respectively), but he's still inheriting a country mired in two wars, a severe economic crisis1, and a crumbling public image. Hell, all but two states won't let gay people get "married" for fear that it will taint the foundation of the "family". No matter how progressive and forward-thinking the country and its new fans2 think it is, there is a lot of work to do.

Nearly sixty million people voted for John McCain3. The country "voted" George W. Bush in two elections in a row. Let's not forget how red that electoral map is south of the Great Lakes. Obama has got a lot of work to do, but people seem to be looking at him like a high-priced free agent who's expected to immediately turn a franchise around. It might take some time, and there may be growing pains; there's a lot of stuff he hasn't even needed to address yet4, let alone the open fires he needs to put out.

I'm not saying Obama can't, I'm not saying he doesn't have the charisma and skill to work a lot of magic, I'm just saying don't expect too much too quickly. The man seems pretty great, and he was absolutely the right choice to run the nation, but remember, Bush had two terms to get things this fucked up, don't expect the mess to be cleaned up by St. Swithun's Day.

1 - Caused in part by the two wars
2 - That is to say, "us"
3 - Thank God 69 million voted for Obama
4 - Will the US take a stance if/when Israel goes back into Gaza? Just to mention one

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