I rarely talk politics. Anywhere. Not on this blog, not at work, and generally not even with friends. The reason is that most people don’t want to discuss politics, they want to lecture, and then get angry that you don’t agree with them. And I learned a long time ago, that I don’t agree with anyone on politics even half of the time. I’m not a liberal, I’m not a conservative. I used to be a Libertarian, but it didn’t take.
Politically, I consider myself a patriot. And I doubt that means the same thing to me as it does the majority of the population. I have voted in every national or state level election I have been eligible for and have never voted for the winning candidate for President, Governor, Senator, Representative or Mayor.
I relate all this as prologue, so you can take what follows with the appropriate grain of salt.
Can we all please calm down about Obama?
I’m not for one second suggesting that his election is anything but historic. And although his election may signal a change in the ugly racial history of our country, I can also accept that it may be an aberration.
But I also understand that Obama has more weight on his shoulders than any other president in recent memory. And not just the political and economic tumult he must wade into, but he also carries 400 years of racial turbulence along for the ride.
I heard a poll a few days ago that said that an international poll found Obama to be the most respected president in over 50 years. Until earlier today he wasn’t even president, and upon the writing of this post the only decisions he has made as president are how many appetizers are too many at your own inauguration ball. How can he possibly be the most respected president when he’s done nothing?
Please don’t get me wrong. I hope Obama is the best president we’ve ever had. No, I didn’t vote for him, but wishing him ill is tantamount wishing further hardships on our country. I didn’t vote for Bush either, but he was my president, and I would have felt a traitor to not support him.
Barack Obama has a hard road ahead of him, and he’s saddled with some staggering baggage. Historically, a executive and legislative branch of the same party is not a blessing—there’s something to be said for the benefit of a Devil’s Advocate. He’s also got frightening expectations to live up to.
Additionally, I’m terrified what would happen to this country if some racist nut-job happens to get off a lucky shot.
I hope he’s a great president. I hope we have turned a page in our racial history. I hope in four years that I’m ashamed that I didn’t vote for him. I hope he can repair our image and relations with our overseas allies.
And I don’t fault others for their hope.
But the history of the office is that few men can live up to their own hype. And it’s Obama’s job to earn his place in history, not for anyone to anoint him.
He should have our support, but not our blind obedience.