An Historic Day

Yes, Kelly Brook got canned as a Britain’s Got Talent judge. Hyuk, hyuk, huyk.

So, Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th president of the United States. It seems such a long time since November already and those scenes of Jesse Jackson weeping in Chicago. But the atmosphere was no less celebratory. The fact that millions showed up in sub zero conditions in Washington to see this moments is testament enough to that.

And we should enjoy this moment, because from here on in it gets rougher. To be fair to Obama his speech said as much to the world. The work to fix things is going to take a long time and is not going to be easy. He’s likely to face great opposition in some places. But he has to succeed, in just the way that FDR had to when he followed the hapless Herbert Hoover. I liked his speech: measured, calm (unlike the few moments before when he was sworn in) and understanding of the size of the task before him.

The hope and the epxectation has been ramped up so high that it is almost inevitable that he will fail; he cannot hope to reach the heights that others expect him to. We should be more measured, though. This man is not a messiah, he is a politician but a greatly skilled one judging by his past. He has tried (largely unsuccessfully) to mange people’s expectations following his election. He has also done the right thing by surrounding himself with others of great skill and experience, because he cannot do what needs to be done alone. But he also seems to be keen to try something new; that is probably his greatest strength right now at a time when it’s clear that the way things have been has not worked. He should be judged, not on how far short he will fall of the outrageous expectations heaped upon his shoulders, but on what he actually does. And that is a judgment that cannot be made now. Give the man time.

The other major advantage he has is that he has succeeded probably the least effective president in living memory. Expectations are low and the will for him to succeed is high. For a while at least he will be given some slack. The great question is: how long?

But for now, that all seems rather churlish. For just a fleeting moment, let’s enjoy a moment in the sun. The Bush years are over. The work starts tomorrow. For all of us.


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