On the eve of Barack Obama historic inauguration, the euphoria could not be any more blissful. What has been labeled in the press as a “seamless” transition is about to be put in practical display. Tomorrow, Barack Hussein Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States and, what is most important is that he also becomes the first African American to secure such highly powerful position. So, on the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, it is understandably perfect that millions of people here and around the world are breathlessly expressing their never-seen-before bliss, their joie de vivre and their utmost obsessive desire to witness such an unprecedented moment. To millions, Dr. King’s dream has finally been materialized. Survivors of the Civil Rights movement are head over hill overjoyed, not withstanding their initial uneasiness vis-à-vis Obama.
There are other forms by which Obama’s coming to power can be classified as historic—the most expensive campaign, the best organized, the most popular and, of course, the most glamorized. But beneath the glittering crystal chandeliers and the grandeur of such fashionably exuberant display lies the insurmountable task that awaits Barack Obama. As he takes the oath of office tomorrow, Obama inherits a government at the driver seat of a country in its worst financial crisis since the great depression, and through the prism of democratic governance and great transparencies, he intends to tackle the much urgent fix of the economy.
At first, Obama seems to have everything at his disposal to begin to thrive as commander-in-chief—the eastern establishment, the corporate elite, Wall Street financiers and, best of all, the diehard support of the vast majority of the population. But will that suffice to secure Obama’s continued ride to crimson splendor? No incoming president has ever enjoyed such high approval rating going in to his inauguration—79% of Americans have expressed a positive opinion of Obama and are highly optimistic about Obama’s promise of change. By contrast, only 47% of Americans had a favorable opinion of George Bush back in 2000. And now, his approval rating is in the teens—a historic low for an outgoing president. Even the corporate-controlled media admits that Georges W. Bush is the most hated and despised president in American history.
However, if we must learn from history, Barack Obama cannot rest assured that this temporary honeymoon period in which hope outweighs experience that he is currently enjoying can last forever. Comes tomorrow, the burden of proof will rest solely on him, and the consequences will be severe if that burden cannot be met. When reality sets in, Obama will find himself walking a thin blue line, and only tangible results in the economy can spare him from falling between the cracks of history. Obama’s fall from grace and fame might be greater than that of Empty-Empty. This is not our wish to witness Obama’s failure, for the repercussion will be unimaginable. But the conditions are so dire that words of wisdom alone may not be enough to avert a popular backlash should Barack Obama be perceived incapable of delivering on his campaign promises. There are concrete reasons to believe that popular opposition to Obama will grow rapidly, and that anger and outrage over the gross deception involved in the electoral process will add fuel to the fire.
However, by all indications, Obama seems to be off to a good start, at least from the standpoint of the corporate elite. He scored a major victory on Thursday, winning the release of the second half of the $700 billion set aside last fall at the urging of the Bush administration to prop up the US financial system.
So while Washington’s sky will be littered with fireworks, and grand venues of aristocratic parties will extravagantly be felt, no one will dare to ignore the heavy work that lies ahead.
Also see Obama’s upcoming administration: a new dawn in American politics?