- Politics and Social Issues
A TOUGH ROAD AHEAD: WHAT BARACK OBAMA FACES
Commenting on the trecherous job our next President faces
In about a week, history will be made in America.
Barack Hussein Obama, a 47-year old senator and Harvard Law School graduate from Illinois, the son of a white Kansan and a black Kenyan who was raised in Hawaii, and a father of two school-age daughters, will be sworn in as the forty-fourth President of these United States.
For the first time in this country's 233 years of existence, an African American will be the leader of the free world.
I'm sure that I join the countless millions of people when I say that I never thought I would see a black man become our Commander-In-Chief in our lifetime.
And I am not some elderly bitter man who has experienced nothing but segregation, racism, and bigotry throughout much of his life (though I have experienced some) - I grew up in the 1970s and 80s and am in my early forties, relatively young in the grander scheme of things.
As a black male, I never personally saw any "Whites Only" signs or burning crosses - except in books and on TV - and I was always able to sit at any lunch counter I liked or on any part of the bus that I pleased. I also went to integrated schools and currently live in an integrated neighborhood.
In short, I am one of those who have reaped the benefits of the work that Martin Luther King and others in the Civil Rights Movement painstakingly put in.
And yet, I STILL did not think that a black man could ever become our country's Chief Executive. I felt that too many white Americans - deep down - were too entrenched in the mindset that they were somehow better than anyone black to accept someone who was not Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant as their supreme leader.
Even if it was subconscious.
And even if they denied it or were too ashamed to admit it.
It was not until Obama won the Iowa primary, in a state that is 97% white, that I began to take him seriously for the Presidency; I think the rest of the nation felt similar to me in that aspect.
By the time November came around, it was obvious to me that America wanted a change from eight years of George W. Bush and his policies, and it was clear that more than enough whites were judging Obama by the soul and character of the man rather than the outward look of him.
That, I believe, was what led to Obama's historic and landslide victory.
However, before all the celebrating, tears of joy and ecstasy, and renditions of Oh Happy Day that is sure to come in our nation's capital this January 20th commences, let me state this...
While I am very happy that a black man and a Democrat is going to take over the White House, to think that Obama is going to be an instant messiah who'll solve everyone's problems and make everything right quickly, as quite a few people seem to believe, would be a mistake.
A big mistake.
Beginning the day after he takes the oath of office, after the parade and all of those inaugural balls, and after all of the music, merrymaking, and celebrities wishing him well, Barack Obama faces an extremely tough job ahead of him.
Any head of state taking over a country that's in its worst economic crisis in over seventy years, with huge conglomerates either on the verge of bankruptcy or going bankrupt, whole neighborhoods being foreclosed, and unemployment projected to go into double digits for the first time in decades, would have a rough go at trying to turn this nation's fortunes around.
Indeed, we Americans are not in a recession, folks; we are in a depression - simply and plainly, that's what this is.
It may not be as deep a depression as the one in the 1930s - at least not yet - but with people all over these United States losing their livelihood, savings and homes - some even committing suicide like a family in Los Angeles, CA's San Fernando Valley did a few months ago - this crisis is undoubtedly more than just a simple recession.
That, friends, is what Barack Obama has to face starting on January 21st.
And it will not be easily remedied. According to a recent MSNBC story, our President-Elect warned in a speech that unless his stimulus package passes, this mini-depression could "linger for years".
I, for one, hope that people do not start to turn on Obama if things don't start getting better right away. This man, and his administration, needs time to turn things around, and I am going to give that time.
And I certainly hope that you will, too.