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Worldwide Ace » Hope and Success

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Hope and Success

23 January, 2009 (14:14) | Politics


“I really wish I could be there,” Jen tells me. “Hopefully they’ll have another in four years.”


“The inauguration.”

“They have one every four years,” I reply.

“No, I mean for Obama.”

I understand that she likes the guy. She considers herself a Chicagoan and worked on his campaign. She’s progressive and young and intelligent which makes her the ideal Obama-supporter.

It’s no doubt that in comparison to Bush, Obama appears a breath of fresh air, and given the current state of things, hope is not only a desirable thing, it’s necessary to our mental health and well-being.

But watching the masses gush and cry over the inauguration−a ceremony that was essentially inevitable since the election ended with people gushing and crying−seems wrong. Obama has promised hope, but he hasn’t delivered yet.

I voted for Barack Obama not because he was black or because he was a democrat. I didn’t vote for him because he’s young or reasonably good looking. I didn’t vote for him because he was a democrat nor because he was a liberal. I didn’t vote for him because of his record had shown he was progressive (what little record there actually is) nor because his speeches are eloquent and inspiring. I’m certain that some people voted for him for one or more of those reasons alone.

I voted for Barack Obama because I think he can be a good president and actually accomplish something.

As of noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2009 he’s done nothing as President. One can argue that by being the first black president of the United States he’s inspired millions, and that’s great, but it’s not why I voted for him.

I voted for him because I believe he can do some good. I believe he can make this country better and help patch some of the holes.

When his four years are up and he’s succeed or failed, then I will judge him and I will will either cry and celebrate how lucky we are to have such an amazing president or I will cry and despair at how even the most inspiring of men can be such a failure.

One of Obama’s first official acts as President was to shut down Guantanamo Bay.

There are arguments on both sides, despite the fact that the population and funding of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center had already been cut during the Bush Administration. The pro-Guantanamo side argues that closing Guantanamo will put these dangerous men in position to be released on American soil by activist judges and that waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that may or may not be torture actually gain us useful intelligence. The anti-Guantanamo side argues that the Geneva convention bans such inhumane treatment, that having Guantanamo offers a recruitment poster for terrorist groups and inspires even more hatred by being the symbol of evil America, and that keeping such a prison off American soil is merely a way to avoid having to work within the confines of the law.

The idea of housing extremely dangerous terrorists in the US doesn’t exactly please, but I would expect the guards and soldiers watching those men to be even more vigilant here than in Cuba. Accusations of torture have been difficult to prove, but if there’s any going on, it needs to stop and it’ll be easier to police here. It has been proven that torture doesn’t actually get information unless it’s in Hollywood. As for Guantanamo being a recruitment tool for terrorists, what isn’t a recruitment tool for terrorists these days?

I do agree with closing Guantanamo, though what happens to the inmates is a big question mark. It is, however, the first thing I can truly be proud of Obama for.

CNN linked with Facebook for election coverage, allowing people to post and keep up with status updates as they watched the inauguration. It was a resounding success.

To me, a man who didn’t care about the festivities, who wanted the new era to being with action instead of partying, it was a resounding annoyance. Every 2 seconds Twitter would go off with another comment about the parades or how happy people were. Facebook exploded with updates of “oh my god I love her dress” and “Cheney is in a wheelchair, serves him right.” It was inauguration overkill.

WOW! I cannot believe they are walking the walk on Pennsylvania Ave.”

8 years of hell is officially over.”

“Jess loved the part about, ‘leaders should know that your people will judge you by what you will build. Not what you destroy…'”

Obama is SO in right now…”


“Lauren thinks no matter who you voted for, you must appreciate the historic step our country is taking today.”

I wanted to stay silent, but I couldn’t.


If you listen to Obama’s speeches from the campaign trail, they’re simple and political. They spout rhetoric and catch phrases without offering substance. If he had actually said what he was going to do as president, he probably would not have been elected. It was smart. It was the right thing to do. And it was aggravating.

Even his inauguration speech was filled with lines to inspire and nothing of true note. It was grand and eloquent and beautiful and moving, but it did nothing. It didn’t fix our problems or make our world a better place. But speeches never do.

Obama has campaigned for change, and change has arrived. I hope that over the next four years that change is for the better and that history will remember Obama as a great man and a great president. But there are no guarantees.

The inauguration parties have ended and Obama has begun his term. Bills are being signed, acts undertaken, and the people have wrapped up their party hats for the next big shindig.

We’ve set a high bar for Obama and I hope he lives up to it. If he doesn’t, I’ll be waiting in four years for a new hope to appear. Either that or trying to figure what exactly happened to my country.