Warehouse G

No Messiah


The Heavy Burden Resting On Obama’s Shoulders

By James Donahue

After eight years of an arrogant, incompetent and lawless right wing administration that left this nation in shambles and the world teetering on economic collapse and possible war, our newly elected leadership, still nearly a month away from taking office, must be feeling the extreme weight of the task ahead.

Even while he waits, President-elect Barack Obama is watching the world economic crisis worsen, the severe winter weather signaling an urgent need to act to head off aggressive climate change, the stories of collapsing bridges, failing water and gas lines beating home the urgency of repairing a worn-out infrastructure.

From where we sit, while watching the various candidates flog it out over the past year to win the presidency, we often found ourselves asking why anyone would want this job at all. Now that Barack Obama has emerged the victor, we wonder if he has had second thoughts. We also notice how relaxed and relieved the Republican loser in that race, Senator John McCain, now appears when you see him in the public eye.

Indeed, a recent CNN poll makes it clear that the general public is resting all of its hope on Mr. Obama at this time of obvious peril for nearly all of us. Even though he has not yet been inaugurated and remains untested in his ability to lead, Americans gave Obama the highest approval rating in modern history of the presidency. He presently scores at 82 percent in general approval and a record 56 percent approval of his selection of a cabinet.

With the two wars launched by Bush still raging and draining an already overtaxed federal budget, and with major banks and lending institutions literally taking billions of dollars in federal bailout money and defiantly refusing to explain where the money went, and with retiring Vice-President Dick Cheney now boasting about how he broke law after law because he and President Bush had self-declared executive authority over the Legislative and Legal branches of our government, the issues are continuing to pile up for the new administration to sort out.

Even as he waits and plans for the inauguration on January 20, Mr. Obama is finding himself under constant attack by a band of right-wing extremists who are trying to somehow connect him to the Blagojevich scandal in the Illinois governor’s office, complaining about choosing controversial fundamental minister, the Rev. Rick Warren, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, to deliver the inaugural invocation, and find fault with his choices for cabinet positions.

As happened during the barrage of mud-slinging by the McCain camp during the last weeks of the presidential campaign, all of the attacks seemed to roll off Obama like water off duck feathers. With his oratory gifts and his campaign based on uniting the nation and the world, this man captured the imagination and the hearts of the nation.

As one analyst writing in the blog Daily Kos explained it: “Americans want and need Obama to succeed for their own future.”

New York Times writer Adam Nagourney noted that both Republicans and Democrats are saying “it is evidence of the unusual place the country is in now: buoyed by prospect of an inauguration while at the same time deeply worried about the future, it is going to be complicated making a case against Obama in an environment where people simply want him to succeed and may not have much of an appetite for partisan politics.”

Once the hoopla of the inauguration is past, and the Obama team begins the task of picking up the pieces left by a failed presidency, Americans would do well to give these people all of the prayers and support they can muster. And above all, we must not expect miracles. There is a lot of repair to be made and it cannot be accomplished overnight, even if all members of both the House and Senate are working in one accord. Which they will not be.

Also we must remember that Obama is not the Messiah. He will make decisions that a lot of folks may not agree with. They will be hard decisions and we have to trust that they will be for the best interests of the majority.

It took Bush and his gang eight years to dig this hole. From all we can tell, they are still at it even as the last days of their rule speed to a finish.