Let’s say he gets elected.
Because of his age, he will inspire the young. Kids are idealistic. You can call it naivete or foolishness, but they tend to have faith until it’s destroyed by a few years of watching cynical “leaders” hustle their sleazy scams for their own aggrandizement at the expense of everyone else. A president who shows them it’s OK to care about each other, the environment, peace and justice on earth should bring thousands — if not millions — of them out to get involved in public life one way or another. This kind of thing could backfire, or it could change the world for the better.
Because of his origin, he will be a source of pride for African Americans. The sense of helplessness and anger they must feel after the past two hundred years should be reduced just a bit by knowing that they have elected a president, a leader for the entire country, and that a whole bunch of white folks went along with them. I personally think the whole concept of “race” based on color, and the idea that some colors are better than others, is bullshit, but that’s easy for me to say, and if the many beautiful people of color want to claim Obama as their own and look up to him and begin to believe that things must be getting better and that they have a fair chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that’s all to the good, don’t you think?
Because he is human, he will make mistakes. The mystique surrounding Obama threatens to raise expectations so high that when he does something normal, or supports an unpopular program or says something that sounds condescending, some will be so shocked that they will reflexively attack him — for letting them down. He has been pretty diligent in trying to let us know that this is bound to happen and that he’ll deal with it intelligently when it does, but many of us don’t want to have the gold diluted, and we’re not listening. And let’s also remember that Obama is getting a lot of money from big corporations, and he is being advised by people from those interests, and typically many of those contributors end up in appointed government jobs if their man wins. He owes those people, and it probably will not be possible to deny them everything they want, so he might have to hand out some distasteful favors while in office. Nobody’s perfect.
“Old Friends, Part 4” coming soon!