January 23, 2009

How will he be remembered?

It's cold today and my house is cold. A professional heating technician turned my floor heating down to a more 'appropriate' level - and funnily enough, what a middle-aged German man thinks is warm enough is very different from what an LA girl like me finds warm. And of course, our new heater is a masterpiece of German engineering so I can't change it.

Ralf could change it but doesn't want to. German men are all alike.

But that's just a side note. I actually want to talk about something a little more serious today.

I don't personally know anyone who isn't thrilled to have a new President, or at least no one who admits it. And it is thrilling - after 8 years of incompetence, corruption and wrongminded policy we Americans can hold our heads up again because we elected someone who can speak well and exudes integrity.

But it seems to me that too much has been made about Obama being black. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to take away from from the hard-earned triumph of Dr. King and all those who stood with him. It's wonderful that such positive change is possible within a generation or two. It's just that it seems to me that if Dr. King was right, the color of Obama's skin is beside the point.

I'm just happy to have a good man in the white house and I honestly don't care if he's pink or blue. Well, maybe not pink, 'cause that's a sign of too much drinking.

Obama's landslide election is a significant milestone in US history, but not just because America elected a black President. It's a milestone because it shows that we acknowledge our heinous mistake four years ago when we re-elected a poor President (and yes, the signs were already there). It shows that we acknowledge that the current path we're on leads nowhere good. It shows that we acknowledge that you get the government you deserve - for example, if you elect an oil man you'll get oil. Duh.

And it shows that we as a nation finally understand what every animal in the jungle gets: Don't poop where you eat.

You may completely disagree with everything I just said but ask yourself this:

Do you think President Obama (or McDreamy, as Emily poetically calls him, and yes he is) wants to be remembered as the first black President or as the man who ended torture of prisoners, upheld civil rights, revamped the US energy grid to introduce alternative energies, worked for peace in the Middle East, strengthened the middle classes that are the backbone of the US economy, brought affordable health care to children and made America a name to respect again?

I'm just saying.


  1. I would guess the latter with a soupcon of the former. His skin color had absolutely no bearing on my vote. It was a free bonus. If it did for others, I'm glad that the package worked, because it went both ways.
    Listen to this:
    "there was- and always had been- another tradition to politics, a tradition that stretched from the days of the country's founding to the glory of the civil rights movement...that which binds us together is greater than what drives us apart...we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done."
    That's only p 2 in the prologue of Audacity of Hope. My heavens, what a brave new world we have before us. Hope is almost painful after years of slogging through despair.

  2. I think he'd probably like to be remembered as both as well. But you know the press. They will pick one topic and focus on it until you want to scream.

  3. I hope people don't expect miracles and all at once. He is just a man, after all and what a mess he has to deal with.

  4. G and Debbie - you're probably right, it is a tremendous achievement. And I've got to read that book. I was just thinking if I was the first woman President I'd get tired of hearing about it pretty quickly. But maybe racism feels different than sexism. R Max - Well, of course they are! Obama's the white knight who will make all our troubles go away. So to speak. But seriously, so many problems were created by the fact that we did jack all about them when there was still time to salvage the situation with minimum pain... I think people at least expect President Obama to do jack, which is at least better than jack all.

    Doesn't ANYone care about my cold house???

  5. I'm hoping both. I think that he is proud to be the first black president, but will do a lot of good things.

    I have actually taken blogs off my Reader recently because I have read some hateful political posts.

  6. Move to Hawaii. Obama gave the Shaka sign to his alumni Punahou band. Houses in Hawaii don't have heaters, no need.

    Otherwise said exactly right. President Obama has given America some class. Odd, that a child raised by a single parent, mixed parentage and all his school paid for by scholarship or loans has more class than a scion of the Republican elite establishment, four generations of power in government.

    I'm just saying.

  7. i think now that the inauguration is over, the issues are so big that we'll stop focusing on skin color. And, yes, to all Kaneiha said.

    maybe the heat issue demonstrates why an angelino married to a german could be considered a mixed marriage.

  8. My sympathies regarding a cold house! I always wonder how on earth I will survive in Deutschland with the cold considering I live in one of the warmest places in South Africa.

    If I were an American I would have voted for Obama because of what he stands for, not his colour. The cause to celebrate America's first black President is the fact that the majority of American's did exactly that!

  9. I agree with you and your commentators. History will judge him for how he governs -- irregardless of the color of his skin. Still, it is heartening to have broken past the color barrier. I wonder how long it will be before Germany elects a chancellor of Turkish descent, for example...

    Here's something hilarious I found on an Alaskan blog (THE ESTER REPUBLIC):

    Dear World,

    The United States of America, your quality supplier of ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for its 2001-2008 service outage. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service interruption has been located, and the parts responsible for it were replaced November 4th.

    Early tests of the newly-installed equipment indicate that it is functioning correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional by January 20th. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage, and we look forward to resuming full service --- and hopefully even to improving it in the years to come.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding,

    *The USA*


Related Posts with Thumbnails