Congratulations, President Obama

It will be an event I will tell my children about. Given this country’s race history, it is undeniably important to elect our first Black president.

It helped that John McCain wasn’t running as John McCain. Growing up as a McCain fan and trained to support defensible nonpartisanship, I can report that I do believe Obama-Biden was the better choice for American progress than McCain-Palin. It became easy for me — even if it is uncomfortable to discuss political decisions as a journalist — to vote for Obama.

Similarly, unfairly, unjustly untruly or not, it seemed the media – particularly in Europe, from my experience – wanted Barack Obama in the office. That is perceived as a liberal bias in journalism but McCain made it easier with a Vice Presidential pick. Journalists should be wary of being perceived as being “for” a candidate.

Still, Obama confronts outlandish expectations for a new president. He has already been anointed as part of a great achievement of American freedom. As a supporter of the U.S. presidency, I hope he can do it. But he has to exceed the level of excitement around him that prompted one supporter to tell a CNN TV camera: “you hear about people seeing Ghandi and Martin Luther King…”

I am worried for anyone who has already mistaken Obama for a revolutionary or civil rights legend. He is a young (by U.S. president standards), bright, engaging, organized leader who just became leader of the free world-elect. I don’t wish on anyone such high expectations, knowing it will likely cause a new age of reactionary partisanship.

Because he is following such an unpopular president and taking control at such a time of upheaval. One would think his reputation can only blossom.

But I will be interested to see if an engaged media and white liberal comedians and reporters – who are at least as conscious of Obama’s race as his supporters – challenge him. Journalism is meant to make all elected officials better by those sorts of challenges.

Photo from CBC News.

One thought on “Congratulations, President Obama”

  1. Good points, Chris. In addition to a rousing coronation, Obama has the pressure of great expectations worldwide. Only time will tell how these two factors will play out.

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