Obama has come to the White House
The just concluded US presidential election – in state of the art digital automation – is cause for envy in so far as RP is concerned. But, It is not as if steps in this direction have not been initiated except that the Supreme Court according to its worldview – believes that it cannot be applied in our contemporary political culture. Thus, it will always be the case that counting the votes would proceed manually such that the longer it takes to finish the count – in days and weeks – the more likely it has opened windows of opportunity for cheating. America on the other hand counts push-button and RP counts scandalously primitive.
Obama and McCain were luminous figures seen in the world stage as arch contenders to who should run corporate America after President George W. Bush. And Obama got 64,414,843 of so-called popular votes and 364 of so-called electoral votes against McCain getting 56,735,145 and 162, respectively. Obama’s victory in this presidential race flips a new page in US political history as the first ever African-American president with McCain conceding even before the last vote is counted.
In the realm of the senses, there is nothing McCain can do to outsmart Obama whose oratory is par excellence. Given images of two competing candidates, McCain receives the short end of the bargain, McLuhan-wise – where ‘the medium is the message’. Obama is seen and heard to have presented his promissory note under the terms and conditions that come agreeable to any contracting party. Thus, there is little difficulty for every voting American to sign this social contract offered by Obama as the simple epitome of the American dream.
Obama is highly educated, McCain isn’t. Obama is an eloquent orator, McCain just isn’t. Obama carries charisma, McCain is yet to acquire the virus. Obama attracts patronage from both the blacks and the whites in, more or less, equal degree while McCain only got half of the racial deal. With another under-educated as chosen running mate, McCain failed to check his political equation. Obama has been better paired with his running mate. With just these two presidential wannabes viewed in the viewing screen, there is no way McCain can attract adherents any more than Obama can – with such ease and facility – typical of the educated class in the US social pyramid. Obama, after all, graduated his law magna cum laude at Harvard Law School while McCain almost at the tail-end of the graduating class in the US Naval Academy.
Perhaps, speech power has been the name of the game in this US election. Every word spoken by Obama seems calculated to summon favor from any average listener or viewer. His speech proceeded from a methodology already known to most Americans with delivery alone qualifying as superb and a cut above the rest. The text of his message comes as though God has spoken before a revering flock – a speech that has warmed the hearts of most Americans, whites or non-whites. Obama’s overall audience impact has really touched every a listener who has been so frustrated with the way Bush has run US politics that one school of thought believes Obama has been a principal beneficiary of this hatred for Bush war policy – viewed as ‘crimes against humanity’.
No wonder then that the punchline – “Change has come to America” – really placed the viewing universe in some kind of trance. Bush bedeviled the American people, and Obama kind of probably ‘angelized’ the new and contemporary American population. Between the devil and the angel, Americans across social ladders, tend to like Obama better than any Bush protégé, or McCain. Given then a prevailing national mood, Obama can skillfully order how his chips will fall in place. And he did just right for his dream to become the next and 44th president of the world’s superpower that is America.
What will US politics be like under an Obama administration? Policy issues have already been drawn, even maybe neatly by the new world leader. Some of these send “shark attacks effect” making the world uncertain for countries that used to benefit economically from US policy directions under Bush. If Obama pursues the creative approach of going insular by focusing largely on its domestic economy, then world trade as we used to know it might have to be configured differently under an Obama regime. If all jobs go to citizens of America, if all goods go to the American people, if all services are just for the Americans – this consuming all-American protectionist policy might mean making US a closed society than what it used to be and imperiled its own national life.
Whatever policy directions Obama will take ought to be beyond fault. With two wars – that in Irag and Afghanistan – first in the political agenda, Obama is left with not much choice but perhaps to withdraw troops in this beleaguered nations if only to cut on the defense budget. With the economic meltdown US is into, Obama might have to make drastic fiscal reforms without having to reinvent the wheel like say – strengthening a protectionist policy in the best tradition of the Democrats where he belongs. A host of pressing social, economic, political, and security issues have to be addressed and Obama thinks too honestly that indeed US meets the challenge in his favorite line – “Yes we can”.
It still bears watching how Obama will reformat a prevailing if irreversible economic curse that appears to be redeemable only with as much as a $700 billion bail out. Bush is heard to have wished Obama hits the ground running. Truly, US has been seen to be at the verge of a cliff to such extent that it seems like there is only 24-hour left to save present-day America.
After the whole electoral exercise, Obama must get down to business. An economic turnaround or a miracle cannot just come about – from a culture of overspending – that has characterized the Bush’ government. Nor can US’ global position as world policeman be compromised as though pulling out US troops in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan will do the trick. It bears watching whether Obama can bring US economy back on its track especially by giving middle class tax cuts to some 95% of American workers if true anything can be done to uplift some 37 million poor Americans that corporate American has neglected for many years. With Obama breaking the century-old racial barrier, it is hoped that political assassinations by some kind of feudal supremacist vogue would be a thing of the past.
PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
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