When Barak Obama took his oath as the 44th President of the United States, the most powerful man on the planet, and kicked off a global party full of hope, praise and showbiz, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How long will the honeymoon last?” In our media•bombarded world of nanosecond attention spans, the “long” is actually “very short.”
This frenzy of hope comes at a low point in our history, when best efforts have left us poorer, divided, bankrupt, and at war – not much different to similar pause points in time after great dynasties and empires self•destructed. And transitions between regimes have not been easy, being often bridged by vacuous periods.
And now we all expect this one individual – a courageous, charismatic and bright man, no doubt – to save us. I recall that other man, the carpenter, who raised the hopes of mankind by his sermons on mountaintops, who kindled hope in people’s hearts. How fast did he fall from grace, and where were his followers when he needed them the most – running clear, denying they had anything to do with him in the end. And the carpenter did not live during the age of the Blackberry and the Internet either, yet his fall came pretty rapidly.
I have no doubt that Mr. Obama will do a spectacular job, if people will let him, by giving him the time needed; and if they will not be swayed by opinion polls that change faster than a stock ticker. I have no doubt that he will expose the underbelly of modern America and make his countrymen accept tough choices if they will let him. I have no doubt that wars will cease and alternative forms of energy will go mainstream and commerce will be regulated, if they will let him. I have even hope for that near impossible dream: everyone in America finally having access to an acceptable level of health care, and schools in depressed areas passing more students than they fail – that these things will all come to pass – if they let him. Perhaps his winning slogan needs an extension: “Yes, we can, if you will let me!”