22 01 2009

Just a few quick thoughts about the new president.

1. He has already made a positive impression – Guantanamo has been ordered to close today. Despite this, I maintain that the only way is down for him from here. When I say this, I mean only in terms of public opinion. I feel reasonably sure that he cannot ever be as popular again as he has been these past months. When he starts making decisions that actually affect people (taxes for example), then his popularity will, inevitably, fall.

2. He is a breathe of fresh air, but (!), we mustn’t lose track of the fact that he is a politician, and therefore by definition someone who will divide people.

3. He cannot, will not, and does not have all the answers. I am becoming hugely frustrated that people, the world over, are looking at him as some sort of saviour, sent to rid the world of trouble. He can’t. What he can do is let America lead by example in a number of fields. It is unfair to expect him to rid the world’s troubles, or indeed, America’s.

4. Is anyone else seeing parallels between him and the legendary Mandela? To my eyes, Obama is re-treading a path already walked by Mandela, and whilst I accept that there are key differences between the two, I think there are interesting comparisons too.

In short then, yes, it is impressive how many people support him and believe in him, but no, he cannot be expected to right the wrongs of the world in four or eight years. Obama will make a difference to the world, but issues such as the economy, the middle-east and global warming are ones which will obstinately refuse to disappear over the course of the next years. How he deals with them will define how he will be remembered and judged by history.




One response

23 01 2009

I was watching the local news a couple of days ago and it was a special on how Americans in the North West were feeling. Anyway, they reported on a Texan vicar in Blackpool- she was going on about how great Obama is and how “he represents the best of us” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7840197.stm), which coming from a vicar, I found a bit weird, in all honesty.

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