A New World President

With the US presidential elections now behind us, we can conclude that a record 65 percent US voter turnout firmly disproved the theory that voter apathy is on the rise. At the same time, it also showed that the oscillations between a Republican and Democrat America, with the popular vote reflecting a 53 to 46 percent victory for Obama, remain very subtle.

From a practical point of view, the Democratic win will not bring about rapid policy change. America has institutions and political and market mechanisms that are strong and resistant to quick change. Much of Obama’s time will be taken up with having to manage two unfortunate wars on the foreign front and an economy in turmoil at home.

The true significance of the US presidential election lies elsewhere. First, from German national TV to the Islamic channel Al Jazeera, the entire world followed closely as the election results came in. This once again affirmed the far reaching importace of American politics, as did the global celebration following Obama’s victory.

In America, the election result has even greater significance, as it also coincided with the end of three eras – the baby-boomers, Bush/Republican rule, and the era of economic prosperity. Obama was able to portray himself as the candidate with just the “right amount” of change, with his fresh energy and excedent rhetoric capturing voters from new segments of the population.

More important, though, is that in voting for Obama, Americans were able to prove to themselves and to the world that they are still capable of gestures and events that are not only seminal, but that also regenerate the all-important American sense of purpose, uniqueness, and national destiny. For Americans, it is particularly this sense of uniqueness and the perception that they have the ability (and even responsibility) to fiction as a chosen nation, which forms a vital component of both national as well as personal identity. With numerous difficulties abroad and at home, electing Obama represented a valuable opportunity to recapture this feeling.

Obama’s victory has changed the world. As a trans-global poly ethnic, Obama’s victory provides hope and nspiration for every member of every minority in the world.

The reason why JFK became a legend is because he did not have a chance to justify the immense faith that people placed in him. My ardent hope is, that in a world of violence, that the same fate will not befall Obama. Were that to happen, then the greatest of hopes would turn into the greatest of tragedies. And we do not need any more legends.

Martin Jan Stránský
Physician, publisher, political commentator



The New Presenceautumn 2008

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