I didn’t weep when Barack Obama was elected. I didn’t go to Urban Outfitters and pay $30 for that famous ‘Obamicon’ shirt. However, am I enraged that Obama is the 44th President? Nope. I believe he has a unique opportunity. He has a majority of his own party in Congress. And, a rarity for any president, he has a youthful majority behind him. He has the ability to change the course of American history.
But here’s the really fun part: if he doesn’t somehow magically get us out of this recession, get good music back on the radio (ok, that’s my goal), get a college football playoff system and improve our global image in just four years -well then we’re going looking at the political equivalent of Darko Milicic or The Arctic Monkeys – boatloads of hype, only a negligible amount of substance. The wave of support Obama is riding into the Oval Office depended on the word ‘Obama’ being synonymous with ‘abject change.’ In our political system, ‘abject change’ does not happen. John F. Kennedy, for all his courage against a tangible enemy, fueled the fire of the Vietnam War, a fact forgotten among the tragedy around his death. It took Franklin D. Roosevelt 12 years (and a war) to get his America recovered from an economic crisis way worse than ours. Well, we’re already in a war, and starting another won’t solve our problems.
The auto industry is slowly dying, and short-term profits from green cars are, well, nonexistent.’ And that is all automakers think in terms of – the short term. Obama can change that, but it will take years to reverse a trend that has been gaining steam exponentially since the Reagan era. A growing number of nations do not like us, and have the ability to show their distaste without confronting us directly. Sure, killing/capturing Osama Bin Laden would be great, but I don’t think that will solve our problems in any substantive way.
Obama’s rhetoric on Inauguration Day struck a familiar note for anyone who caught it – Obama sounded no different than any president before him. He is now faced with dealing with the problems he has talked about dealing with for the past two years, and the realization that they probably won’t be fixed in four years is going to profoundly change his policies.
But why do I say he is the ‘Destroyer of the American Spirit’? For years, we have been disaffected with the American political system. Election after election, politicians have been preaching the same thing. But this was different. We feel Obama. But what happens when he doesn’t come through (at least in the way we want him to)? What happens in four years, when Sarah Palin has actually been to foreign countries? We will feel, once again, the American spirit leaving us, and we’ll return to watching bad bowl games and wishing we had never heard of Lady GaGa.