Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Living up to Expectations

Post the Obama Inauguration, the whole world and certainly the United States, seems to be doing one big happy dance. The Messiah apparent has now taken the throne and all of our troubles and woes will quickly vanish, and an age of unprecedented and everlasting peace is upon us...maybe. It's a little too soon to start analysing President Obama's performance. After all, he hasn't had a chance to actually do anything yet. That's not a criticism, it's a fact. And yet, I do see signs of unrest already forming in the clouds. There are many examples, some of which I outlined in my previous blog I feel sorry for Barack Obama...and I admire him. I want to use just one recent example; the controversy over Obama's appearance on the cover of MS. Magazine. The link I posted in the last sentence includes a picture of the cover, which depicts Obama, ripping his shirt open in "Superman" fashion with the t-shirt underneath saying, "This is what a Feminist looks like". In fact, feminists were split on whether or not this was a good thing. Occasionally, but rarely, does MS. Magazine have a man on its cover and many dissenters thought that a woman such as Hilary Clinton or even (gasp) Sarah Palin should have appeared instead. Others, and chiefly the editorialship of MS. Magazine, say that it's possible for a man to be a feminist and that an Obama Presidency is good for feminists. The previously mentioned dissenters still, to some degree, are smarting that Clinton didn't win the Democratic nomination for President (and possibly the Presidency itself), nor was she even vetted as a possible VP for Obama (the latter would have ended up in a hopeless battle of wills between two strong leaders, neither one wanting to take the back seat to the other...Clinton will better serve "the party" as Secretary of State). As I recall watching and reading the various reports on this issue, one of the criticisms levelled against Obama's being displayed on the magazine's cover, was that he hadn't appointed enough women to high Cabinet positions (and I previously discussed this). I guess this means Obama failed the "feminist" test by not meeting his "woman-in-high-places" quota. Before you condemn me to "male chauvinist pigdom", I do believe strongly in equal access and don't believe in making distinctions between men and women in terms of capability for any role. I have no problem with Obama being President based on race and would have had no problem (had it worked out that way) with Clinton being President based on gender. What I am saying is that I don't believe that anyone is entitled to any particular role just because of race or gender. In other words, I don't believe in quotas. Affirmative Action's dismal failure proves they don't work. In fact, quotas are demeaning to the very people you're trying to benefit, because they say "you couldn't have made it on merit alone...you need help". Obama is supposed to be the superhero that rights all wrongs, frees the oppressed, heals the sick, raises the dead...no wait, that's Jesus. Well, as far as the American public and citizens of the world are concerned, Obama is all that rolled into one person. He can do no wrong, at least today. However, when tomorrow and the day after tomorrow come around, criticisms such as those I've just mentioned will rise over the horizon like rain clouds hiding the morning sun. The feminists are just an example. Every interest group expects President Obama to serve their particular needs. It's almost as if each American individual is expecting Obama to service just them. What happens when he doesn't? What happens when President Obama continues to use his own judgement to make decisions rather than everyone's expectations? What happens when someone asks him for something and he has to say "no"? Everyone loves a rising star, but will turn them into "paparazzi-fodder" the split second they appear to fail. Obama doesn't even have to actually fail to be turned against by the fair-weather fans. All he has to do is seem to fail by not meeting everyone's expectations all of the time. Given the dismal reputation George W. Bush takes with him, like a personal storm cloud, as he leaves the White House for the last time, it's relatively easy to be the popular new kid on the block. All you have to do is say, "I promise to be different than Bush". The whole world is ready for that. The question of what "different" actually means will become important in the weeks and months ahead. We not only must pray that Obama guides this nation with wisdom, but we have to pray that we understand that a leader must lead the people, and not follow their every whim.

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