Last week the United States of America elected Barack Obama President by a clear margin. I voted for him and believe me I am very happy that he won. I was moved to tears by the historic implications of his acceptance speech in Grant Park, as was Jesse Jackson, and it sounded like Jim Lehrer either had a frog in his throat or maybe he too was overcome by the moment. John McCain was gracious in defeat - I believe this was the real John McCain finally free of the burden of running for president, now able to be himself.
As great as this is from a historic perspective, it does nothing to change the grim financial and social circumstances we are facing. It does offer some hope, however. First of all, it means that people are ready to try something different, and we also will have a president who ran on "change" (though the specifics were not defined). And we cannot discount the new goodwill we should have from the rest of the world, and the prospect of repairing some broken relationships.
People are ready to try something different, but how different? And even if they are ready for the kind of radical social change that will be required to survive (see my next post), will Barack Obama be bold enough to risk this kind of action? It is tragic in many ways that he has inherited a set of problems decades in the making that will most likely make him or any president look like a failure. I wish him well and hope for great things from him, we are going to need an inspiring leader in the next few years.