I have returned from Chicago, and we have a new president. My own home state has added another diversion from its 104 year record of only having voted for the losing candidate once. I should probably say something about how we've “made history” by putting the first black man in the white house, but honestly I find those kinds of assertions droll and demeaning. We have an educated, well-spoken, stable, proven and reliable new president, and that is what matters right now.
In the next four years, he will be faced with the worst financial situation in our history and be expected to “fix” it, something no one, even a president, can do on his own. An economy is, after all, a sum of parts, not just of the nation's, but of the world's. In order to repair what is broken, Obama will need the support (and to an unprecedented degree, the trust) of all Americans, but he will also need the support and trust of the world.
Fortuitously, Obama seems to have no difficulty inspiring people at home or abroad. It is important, however, to realize that while this makes his job possible, it does not make it easy.
If nothing else, it seems highly likely that someone is going to try to kill him while he's in office. One attempt has already made news, I'm certain others have been suppressed. He has a capable and trustworthy (and healthy and white) vice president ready to step in should the secret service fail to protect him. I suspect he had his own death in mind when he picked a VP so obviously ready to be president, and I suspect Biden would do an adequate job of carrying on the task at hand, should the job fall to him.
But he would not do the job Obama would, because he would not inspire us the way Obama does. He would not inspire the world the way Obama does.
Even if you think McCain was the man for the job. Even if you're mad as hell about how the election went...
When Bush faced 9/11, the nation (even the Democrats) stood behind him because he was The President of the United States of America and the crisis was bigger than party lines. The crises we face today are no smaller. If anything, they are larger, because they impact the entire world, and because they will kill more people before they are over. These deaths will be mostly quiet and anonymous, and there will be no one obvious to blame, and no one to go to war with. There will be no vengeance for these deaths.
The economy has crashed. We see numbers that go up and down, and people in suits whining. What we don't see is people losing their homes and starving to death on the street. Even here. In the rest of the world, it will be worse.
The climate is changing. Warming, cooling, these terms are misleading and foolish. They are narrow. The currents are changing, and this is killing the whales (migration patterns rely on currents). The warm air moves places it didn't before, and this is bombarding our coasts with hurricanes. Deserts are expanding, the ice caps are melting, waterways are drying up and filling with silt. Some of this is nature, some of it isn't, but the causes are irrelevant when considering the effects. People are going to die. We must do what we can to limit the devastation, and that will broadly be Obama's job too.
So for fuck's sake, whatever party you align with, when he needs you,
That's my ten cents for the day.