Don’t let us down, Mr. President
Linda Heard, an Arab News journalist, comments on the eagerly awaited inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th US President, and the first African-American to rule the United States.
January 20, 2009 3:08 by Linda Heard
Today’s the day most Americans and much of the world have been patiently awaiting. It’s a day filled with relief, expectation, and joy – one that is destined to be highlighted in history books as yet unwritten. The American people have not only dumped the racism that has pervaded the higher echelons of American politics since its Constitution was penned, they have chosen a man of wisdom and sincerity to lead them during these troubled times. Well…that’s the hope.
Barack Obama is the greatest example that the fabled American Dream is alive and well. Today, with great fanfare, this 44th US president will be sworn into office on the Bible that once belonged to Abraham Lincoln, whose train journey he purposefully, and rather theatrically, emulated. More than 80 percent of Americans are delighted at the shift change.
Tomorrow, he will wake up in the White House with all the cares of the world on his shoulders, literally. During his protracted campaign, he proved to be dedicated, inspirational and able to run a tight ship. He has certainly talked a good talk but whether he can truly walk the walk we have yet to find out.
It seems he is aware of his own limitations, as during the weeks preceding his inauguration, he has sought to limit the public’s expectations, warning of hard times to come.
He knows he has inherited a shambolic economy and a country with few friends due to the reviled foreign policy of his once egomaniacal, now bowed, predecessor whose neoimperialist ambitions have turned to ashes. A lesser man than Obama would find such challenges too daunting to contemplate.
Obama is still an unknown quantity. Thanks to his autobiographies we know the minutiae of his life thus far and we believe the new president, although relatively young and inexperienced, is a man of principle.
Over the past months, pundits have been analyzing his every word and gesture but I believe that no one can predict what kind of president he will be. Any clues there have been may well turn out to be red herrings devised by spin doctors and advisers to maintain his popularity at home. Once settled into the Oval Office, his first priority will be the economy. With failing banks, a collapsing auto industry, a decimated property market, high unemployment, a shattered property market and an unprecedented fiscal deficit to contend with, his task is unenviable.
Only a magician could snap his fingers to bring back the America that was before George W. Bush got his hands on it. Americans may be counting on the Obama magic to lift them out of the swamp of despair but the people of this region, merely seeking a modicum of justice, are more skeptical.