Today, the world celebrates the first mixed race president of the United States of America. However, despite his rhetoric, awe-inspiring speechmaking and total embodiment of theÂ AmericanÂ Dream, can he deliver?
Obama is expected to deliver accross the board, in the economy, in foreign policy and with social reform when it comes to race. First and foremost, polls show that voters were mostly interested in the economy when they voted. 60% stated that the economic downturn was their most pressing issue, whereas only 10% asserted the war in Iraq. This suggests that rather than the traditional image of being trigger happy, Americans want to adopt a more domestic approach to government. Obama, by all sources, is basically expected to fix the world economy. If this is to be his only criteria for success, then he will surely be branded a failure as many critics suggest that the downturn will outlast the 4 year term, as the world economy is beyond repair.
Accross the pond, critics are speculating what an Obama presidency can hail. Some fear that the "special relationship" between the UK and the US will be damaged by Obama's fixation with France and Germany, and also by the isolationist approach that America may adopt, thatÂ would be detrimental to UK workers in America. Gordon Brown asserts that Obama is a "friend" of the country, and that the relationship would continue. Realistically, a re-evaluation of American foreign policy would be beneficial, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq that Obama has always been opposed to. It is notable that Obama was not a part of the Senate when the decision was made to invade Iraq, therefore his non-involvement is less contested.
There is overwhelming attention being given to Obama's race. This suggests that race was an important factor in the election. Surely this compromises the essence of Democracy, as rather than having a period of informed voting, race prevailed? Obama has little experience, and therefore will be under close scrutiny. However, only time will tell whether he is worthy of the top job. In the mean time, many have flagged up the issue that there isn't a black PM in the UK. Perhaps the high and mighty "America isn't ready for a black president" critics of a year ago will have to re-assess the land in which they live.