Great expectations and great challenges

Barack Obama

Three more great articles from The Economist on this past Tuesday’s election excerpted below. The first article deals with the expectations that President-elect Barack Obama will face once he takes the Oath of Office on January 20th.

Great expectations of Barack Obama | The Economist
Nov 6th 2008, From The Economist print edition

Barack Obama has won a famous victory. Now he must use it wisely

NO ONE should doubt the magnitude of what Barack Obama achieved this week. When the president-elect was born, in 1961, many states, and not just in the South, had laws on their books that enforced segregation, banned mixed-race unions like that of his parents and restricted voting rights. This week America can claim more credibly than any other western country to have at last become politically colour-blind. Other milestones along the road to civil rights have been passed amid bitterness and bloodshed. This one was marked by joy, white as well as black.

The second article examines how Mr. Obama won the election, where he won his support and how he held off Senator McCain.

How Barack Obama won the presidency | Signed, sealed, delivered | The Economist
Nov 6th 2008 | WASHINGTON, DC, From The Economist print edition

Barack Obama owes his victory to blacks, Hispanics, the young, women of all races, the poor and the very rich

IT WAS a suitably exhilarating end to the most thrilling presidential race in a generation. This was the longest election in American history, and the most expensive by far. It was also, on the Democratic side, the hardest-fought, with Hillary Clinton amassing almost as many primary votes as Barack Obama. But on November 4th the result was clear: Mr Obama beat John McCain by six points in the popular vote (52% to 46%) and 190 votes in the electoral college (364 votes to 174).

A sense of history in the making hung over the election: a country that has been torn apart by race peacefully elected a black man to the highest office in the land. Mr Obama’s volunteers wore T-shirts inscribed with the slogan “Making history”. People across the country cheered and wept when the result was announced. Both Mr Obama and Mr McCain gave speeches worthy of a turning point.

The final article discusses the many challenges, especially in foreign policy matters, facing the future President.

The challenges facing Barack Obama | Obama’s world | The Economist

How will a 21st-century president fare in a 19th-century world?

BLISS it is in this dawn to be alive. That will be the reaction of many people around the world to America’s election of a thrilling new president—young, black, with political and intellectual gifts well above the ordinary. But the world that will face Barack Obama when he moves into the White House in January is not very heaven. It is, in fact, a mess.

Just because the election is over does not mean that everything is going to be all wine and roses over the next four years. Stay educated, read the three articles linked above, and keep reading over the next four years.

The challenges facing this nation are not going away anytime soon, if ever. As each challenge is surpassed, another will surely present itself, and we the people need to make sure that we continue to make the correct choices as face each new obstacle.

That is what made the United States a great nation, once upon a time, and that’s what will bring us back to the fore.