It’s official. As of noon yesterday, Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. Despite the truly horrible history of how black people have been treated in this country, we’ve just elected a black man to the highest office in the land.
It’s not the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s dream. It’s not the end of racism, but it is the point in history at which the end of racism became inevitable. It is something we should all be proud of.
So let’s enjoy it while we can, because this is the highpoint of the Obama Presidency. It’s all downhill from here.
As the most glamourous presidential candidate in decades, his supporters have been projecting their hopes and dreams onto Obama for almost two years. He’s been Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised, reflecting back their heart’s desire.
That’s all about to change. Starting today, his ambitions are going to get a lot more specific and concrete than just “change” and “renewal” and “rebuilding.” Starting today, we’re going to judge him not on what he says, but on what he does and—even more importantly—on what he accomplishes.
If you have high hopes for Obama, he’s going to disappoint you. He has to. He’s made over 500 campaign promises, and he can’t possibly keep them all. He hasn’t even given his daughters their new puppy yet.
If Obama wants to get anything done, he’s going to have to make some tradoffs, and then his choices will reveal his true nature. His supporters will find out what his presidency is really all about. They’ll find out which of them he really loves, and which get left in the cold.
As a libertarian, I have little to look forward to in an Obama administration. The most I can hope for is that he’ll undo Bush’s threats to our civil liberties without doing too much violence to our economic freedom. And maybe…maybe…as a black man who’s lived in an American city, he’ll do something to stop the police from trampling our rights…instead of giving them federal funding to do so.
Or maybe I’m just catching a glimpse of the Mirror of Erised myself.
The reality can never live up to the dream, and starting today, the reality of the Obama presidency is unavoidable. Whatever it is, here it comes.