Monday, January 26, 2009

I wouldn't want to be Barack Obama

Imagine walking in to your first day of work at a new job only to find that schools across the nation are re-naming themselves after you. Streets in major US cities have your name on them. Foreign countries are naming mountains after you. All of this before you have had your first cup of coffee. Part of you would be filled with pride on the accomplishment, but part of you, that part we all deal with, has to be in fear of the expectations put on you.

You didn't make this mess, but you promised to clean it up, and while you do, everyone will be watching everything you do. Every decision you make, every word you say will be met with scrutiny and criticism. You will have your every thought second guessed and every action analyzed to the most minute detail. Now, amidst all that, go ahead and raise your family under the watchful eye of an entire nation. Oh, and by the way, here is a laundry list of just SOME of the things you are expected to do over the next few years:

  • Passing a new economic stimulus plan
  • Closing Guantanamo Bay
  • Withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq
  • Pursuing peace between Israel and Palestine
  • Winning the war in Afghanistan
  • Reforming health care
  • Reversing Bush-era executive orders

... and don't forget, you will always live in fear of your life not only because of your job, but because we still have some in this country that base their ideological beliefs on the color of your skin.

I worry for you Barack. I worry that everyone is whipped up into such a fervor over your election that their expectations of you can never be met. I worry that you have been placed on such a high pedestal that there is no where to go but down. You haven't been at work a week and everyone expects you to save the world. And if you don't? Will it be your fault? Will we see that we set our expectations too high or will we just look back and lament the failure of your presidency.

The American people aren't treating you right. They are treating you well, but not treating you right. We need to slow down. We need to understand the significance of your election to office but temper that with an understanding that the journey you are about to embark on is a difficult one. No one man can change the world overnight. It takes time. It takes perseverance. It takes patience, and that is the one thing you need most from us. Patience.

I wouldn't want to be Barack Obama, but I am going to give Barack Obama a chance to show us who he really is.

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