Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Kudos to President-elect Barack Obama on a fantastic campaign for the White House. Of course, this falls into the category of 'be careful what you wish for' because now he's got a boatload of headaches in his future. Indeed, John McCain may actually have a better Christmas than Obama. While McCain will be able to sun and vacation - wherever the hell multimillionaires with wives 25 years younger than they are do these things - Obama will be pulling his hair out trying to pull together the transition into leading a country that is in an economic shambles.

In fact, if any of you have ever taken over a job that had been left abandoned or vacant for a considerable period of time - and lucky me, I've done that for my last two professional moves - you'll understand Obama's quandary. Essentially, President Bush has been out of office for about 18 months. I'm sure he spends a few nights at the White House still, but my guess is Camp David and Crawford are your best bets to find him nowadays. The country has been rudderless without a president that anyone: a) believes; b) respects; c) cares about. That last one is important: it's better to be a hated president than a forgotten one. And Bush has been long gone for a while.

So, essentially, President-elect Obama will take office on January 20th, be given the keys to the White House and he and Michelle will need to spend the first few nights just dusting, getting rid of cobwebs and figuring out how to get the furnace going again. But that'll be a piece of cake compared to what's facing Obama in the Oval Office. The economy. The war. Russia. Iran. Venezuela. Pakistan. Forming a cabinet. Keeping Joe Biden too busy to talk. These are all tall tasks individually - put together they are quite monumental.

So, while the country is expecting President-elect Obama to lead, he also rightfully expects engagement from all of us. Obama must be given the leeway and the time to assemble a team, figure out how to handle some of the lunatics he'll have badgering him in the House and Senate, and he'll need our support. We didn't get into this mess overnight [although sometimes it sure seems like it] and we're not going to get out of it any quicker.

But all of that is for the future. For today, we should simply enjoy this. Even if you voted for McCain, you cannot deny the monumental historical reality we have just witnessed. While it is true that racism is alive and well [yet another nutjob said to me today, "I'm scared if [Obama] is assassinated by a white man there's gonna be a race war." I wanted to say, 'Assassinated is an awfully big word for a moron', but I restrained myself], does anyone really doubt what it means for the country to have elected its first African American president? Do you realize that until 43 years ago there was no national legislation guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote in every state in the Union - let alone to lead that Union? Until that Voting Rights Act of 1965, if you lived in certain parts of this country and you were African American, trying to vote could - and often did - get you killed. Read some of the great books written over the last 25 years detailing the Civil Rights years [Taylor Branch's trilogy/biography of Martin Luther King is by far the greatest] to get a full appreciation of exactly what we've just witnessed in this election. It is truly breathtaking.

Like you, I've no idea how wise Obama's presidential decisions will be. I think it's amazing, however, that he has the opportunity to make them.

copyright 2008 by EBBP Redux. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than EBBP Redux or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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