Today, Barack Hussein Obama will become the 44th US president. He represents a break with history in many ways. The most obvious, of course, was his being the first colored president, having crossed the monumental divide for the first time. He also represents the post-Cold War generation, the Internet generation, and the vast youthful generation just coming into their own.
A similarly significant Obama characteristic is his unifying theme, yet combined with the determination to redress the wrongs of society that divide and undermine the American vision “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Of course, the rhetorics may not reflect in the reality of an Obama government facing the global recession, two major wars, and a global environmental crisis. At the same time, he has to manage the transition to the brave, new American world–the world where Americans are just equal to everybody else and that America needs the goodwill of the rest of humanity and is a part of it.
However, expectations ran high that his is a government that will think out of the old generation’s box, put intractable problems in new perspectives, and put forward new, workable ideas to solve global problems.
His is a basically non-ideological approach, encompassing the wisdom of all sides. However, his is expected to be a simple and straightline addressing of problems. Ideologues, Right and Left, will have problems with an Obama, yet his popular support and the openness of the American people and most of the other peoples might force them to open to him.
Obama has a historical opportunity to do the right thing not only for America and the world. The world lies at his feet. Whatever he does in his presidency, none can diminish what he has already accomplished today by becoming a president of his nation.