The Audacity of Hope is Derailed by the Reality of Actuality

20 01 2010

Was it really only a year ago?

20th of January, 2009 was the day that the mantra of “Yes We Can” was to be the soundbite of real change.

This was the day an African-American was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. As the world watched in hope and expectation, Barrack Obama confidently strode to the front of the podium, and accepted the challenge of leading the world into a brighter future. 

For those who braved the cold in Washington that day, for the millions that watched on televisions across the world, he was a beacon of hope in a nation that had lost its way under the previous administration.

All he needed now was to pull off his suit and reveal that he was wearing tights and a cape.

365 days on and the attitude has changed.

For “Yes We Can”, we are now hearing “Give Us A Chance, We Didn’t Know It Would Be This Hard”.

When he was elected on 4th November, 2008, Obama said that “the road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term…..but I promise you, we as a people will get there.” Having then been sworn in, he identified exactly how long this road was this by saying that “we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood

Or to be more specific: “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our healthcare is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

To be fair to Obama, his administration did inherit policy from the Bush administration that may have been ever so slightly toxic.


Including but not limited to

  • The worst Financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1930,
  • Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism in Pakistan and India
  • the environment, the continuing battle with climate change and global warming
  • healthcare that excluded 47 million Americans,
  • rising unemployment
  • a small military base in Cuba
  • continuing problems in the Middle East,
  • the increasing disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

Despite this, there were some who believed that he would be able to solve these problems in 6 days, and rest on the seventh. 

One year on, we still have a financial situation that has achieved some sort of stability but there is still conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan with Obama committing more troops to fight the militant Taliban. The Climate Change conference in Copenhagen was not considered overly successful and there is there is still too much poverty, greed and irresponsibility in the Land of the Free. Guantanamo Bay is still open for business, albeit with a reduced tenant count, but the attempted bombing of a Delta flight on Christmas Day highlighted the deficiencies in Homeland Security.

So what has the 44th President being doing all this time? 

The answer is that he is not Superman or some religious deity but just a hard-working politician.

He was handed  the keys to power by a previous administration that had allowed corporations and financial institutions to remain unchecked and unregulated, had instigated a conflict in Iraq on false information and lies, had failed to properly address environmental concerns and who are now set for a career in lucrative consultancy work and memoirs.

And just when it looked as if his signature policy of Healthcare Reform was proceeding (if not smoothly, at least in principle), the electorate of Massachusetts chose to send a Republican to Washington to replace the late Ted Kennedy.

A Senate seat that had been Democrat since 1953.

Not the best way to celebrate your anniversary.

On the plus side, I understand that the Nobel Peace Prize is looking nice on the shelf in the White House and Bo the dog is happy and healthy.

Was it really only a year ago that we added his inauguration to the flashbulb memories that let you remember where you were on days of significance?

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun?

Barack Obama






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