Friday, January 08, 2010

The First Year of the Obama Administration: A New Era for America

The greatest achievement of the Obama administration came with his election.

I am among those who think the worst sin of our wonderful country has been anti-black racism. It produced many great evils for black and white Americans. Worse, it produced an irrationality at the heart of the American experiment in equal liberty right from the beginning. The civil rights movement turned the corner in changing the culture of America. Only after the civil rights revolution was it possible for America to begin to realize the meaning of her creed, as Martin Luther King said.

The election of Barack Obama sealed the victory in the long struggle against America's worst sin. This does not mean that racism is over - it probably never will be, certainly not in the foreseeable future. But the old era is dead. The new generations that come after now will find segregation as hard to imagine as slavery. Barack Obama is in the role of Joshua to the civil rights generation's Moses.

Barack Obama is an African American. But he is also a representative of the new generation that lives beyond the old black and white struggle. His parents were black and white. His children are African American in the usual sense of the word. He, though, also represents the new generation of Americans who came from all over the world, the post-1965 generation of global America. I believe that the Obamas are a potent symbol of the way forward, not only beyond our original sin, but also beyond the new ethnic conflicts of this generation.

Still, the first black president can't just be average. He has to be a great president. His family has to be exemplary. It was inevitable that the first black president would face extraordinary tests just because some groups would try to test him. That he also has to deal with a major recession and wind up an elective war and face global warming were not inevitable, but they add to my sense that this president has to be extraordinary.

Time will tell whether Barack Obama will be a great president, or even a decent one. I think his preparation, his family, his character, and his convictions all are well suited to greatness in the larger role that history has thrust upon him. I will be watching and hoping for his success with keen interest.


phil said...

He is half black and was raised, educated, socialized and his poopy diapers washed by his white mom and white grand parents. His black dad abandoned him and his white mom. Please don't contribute to the Obama myth. The real history is good enough and your story threatens your credibility.By the way slavery is very prevalent today.

Mary T. said...

"Barack Obama is in the role of Joshua to the civil rights generation's Moses."

I see him more in the role of a Manchurian Candidate than a Joshua. He doesn't strike me at all as a spiritual leader. More like a Jimmy Carter with out religious roots. He ran as a centrist then took a hard left after being elected.

I thinks this is why independents and the extreme left are disillusioned with him.

Bush had a similar problem. He ran to the right to get elected then disappointed the right by moving to the center. But not far enough to the center for the left.

"Most groups" don't care much about Obama's color, an "elective war" or global warming. They care most about jobs jobs jobs.Obama, Axlerod and Emanuel missed that.

Today 40% of Americans identify themselves as conservative, 35% moderate and 16% liberal(Gallup). This does not bode well for Obama or the Democratic party.

Making light of Sarah Palin and the Tea party may be fun but I don't think it helps the left politically.

Anonymous said...

Obama is no more black than my left foot, but he managed to use that myth to snow the left and the white guilt crowd to get elected. As Mary T. points out, he then took a hard left. Now he has managed to alienate just about everyone -- far left, independents, people who don't want to get blown up on airplanes, etc...

He used all his political capital in the first year on Afghanistan and healthcare while unemployement soared to 10% (17% if you count people who have given up or are underemployed). If this is "a new era for America" then bring back the old era.