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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Calling all Democrats: your idol seeks believers as sacrifices determine a mixed 1st year

A day away from his first year anniversary and transition into his second year as President of the USA, and, frankly, bearer of one of the biggest occupational burdens known to the 21st Century (no allusion to the perpetual Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan pursuit in the war on terror), Barack Obama is under no illusions as to where he stands.

The polls are speaking for themselves: approval ratings since his first three months in office have declined from an initially expected 70% to a less convincing 53%. Among the Democrat fold, who are seemingly still supportive of their million dollar man, 84% - party voters of a liberal inclination - have consensual faith in Obama, and can still be seen to be standing at the feet of his statuesque ideals; the policies in circulation are under a more dubious observation from advocates and critics alike.

Since his inauguration and settling period in office, President Obama has been faced with a mountain of issues, some of which remained unattended or unsolved from the Bush administration, and others that have cropped up in an untimely fashion like pangs of indigestion. The grittiest, front row issues are themselves hard to swallow, even for a man whose intelligence and integrity to his country is unimpeachable, except for the Republican tea drinkers and resilient racists that propagate in areas of the Deep South.

The collective issues, which, for the sake of implication, might as well be labelled the President's Problems, are increasing in urgency at every corner; here are a few that Americans are certainly drawn to in anxiety:
  1. Economy: as America has already come to terms with the vastness of the 2008 recession's effect on them, it comes as no surprise that a lack of detectable effect from Obama's stimulus package is putting a strain on an incessantly jumpy system. Unemployment, slumps in the housing market and bank bail-outs aggregated and persist in frustrating a top economy that is stuck at rock bottom
  2. Healthcare: if universal healthcare for America was in a glass, it would almost definitely be half-empty. The optimism surrounding such a controversial social gambit by Obama has withered with the seasons since it was first proposed, albeit audaciously, considering the strength of opposition from the Republican right. Losing out on a federal government-run insurance scheme means it will be less likely the lower end demographic members will secure improved healthcare above what has been traditionally insubstantial
  3. The war on terror: if there is sure sign of Bush's legacy of errors, here it is. Although military campaigns, beginning in Iraq and now emphasised in Afghanistan and Pakistan, against terrorist organisations after 9/11 have reason behind them, they don't have promise. Any of what can be said to bolster such an expensive (both through loss of life and effort elsewhere) commitment to this conflict falls on deaf ears, as time and again the progenitors (American and UK government) have failed to convince us that it is worth fighting
In the midst of political clamour that ruffles the eagle's feathers, and castigation he doesn't deserve, Obama is still up to his neck in global operations that demand his vigilance, judgement and assistance from his supporters - this is what he requires most right now, and which perhaps he is not receiving as you might expect.

While Republican policy takes a back seat and its devisers mock and gibe about how badly they perceive the current presidency to be, Obama is stood in a playground waiting for his posse to pluck up the courage to defend him, or at least pitch in a wave some placards of their own right back at the bullies.

We all know how bitter politicians can get, especially when they don't or can't get their way. This is why we are now seeing supportive figures from Obama's electoral campaign taking a step back and reconsidering the situation in light of how things look, a year on from all the cheering and celebration. Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic party, denounced the controversial healthcare bill as "not worth passing". This may be true, given that it will fail to act on what has always been a thorn in the poorer population's side; but it leaves Obama open to yet more slating from the right when his own kind ebb away from party lines.

Nevertheless, as mentioned importantly in an article in the Guardian by Gary Younge, the faith in Obama and pedestal he was lifted onto by such widespread - global, even - appeal with the electorate has been shaken, and mainly because of the inherent fallibility of such loyalty. The loyalty itself was genuine, but it was made blinkered by the notion that Obama could never fail to adopt the poise of the deity for America that they made him into.

As it stands, the USA and its fluctuating faith - indicative of the contagious instability that originated in the recession - needs to offer Obama a little lift of opinion for now, as he himself must prove his worth to the Constitution and provide for his people the way they dreamt he would, but also the way the world now expects from him. Nobody said it was going to be easy. In the words of Obama: "what is required of us now is a new era of responsibility". So let the era begin already!

Here is a link to Gary Younge's article on Obama, a year on from his inauguration:

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