The New President Has A Very Difficult Task Waiting For Him|
By: Dr. Mansour O. El-Kikhia
The new president has a very difficult task waiting for him
San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted: 11/07/2008 12:00 CST
In a historic election, Americans have selected a new president and succeeded in ending a sorry period in their history, characterized by bitter divisions fueled, in many instances, by ignorance and myopia.
Much has been written and spoken about Sen. Barack Obama's victory, so I will not regurgitate what has already been said.
I am elated by the choice, but I tend to take a cautious perspective on what is coming. First, contrary to the prevalent perception, I don't believe Obama will be a panacea for all of America's problems. His will be like no presidency since FDR, and America's political and economic future will hang in the balance. It will not be easy to rectify the political imbalances of the previous eight years and economic imbalances of the previous 40.
The new president will have no honeymoon, and he must hit the ground running. He cannot wait for the current administration to formally hand over the reins of power before he begins his preparation to implement his political or economic agenda. He must be ready on Jan. 21, 2009.
I see the negative impact of eight years of Republican rule manifesting itself in three layers. The top layer is political and here Obama will need to dismantle the many official and unofficial rules and regulations instituted in the name of security by his predecessor that deprived Americans of their constitutional rights and instilled fear in their hearts. Changing laws and regulations on the books is not difficult, but changing ignorant minds is another story.
A case in point is the drivel coming out of the mouth of a Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the Texas State Board of Education. She continues to accuse the president-elect of sympathizing with terrorists that want to undermine the United States. This might be an insignificant example, but with thousands of such ideologically narrow individuals with tremendous hatred for anything contrary to their view of the world, it represents a huge obstacle for any government.
The Republican Party is leaving power at a time the hate-pods it planted, inadvertently or by design, are beginning to release their poison. Every step forward taken by Obama will be met with two back steps taken by individuals who have nothing but contempt for him and his policies.
The second layer is economic. It is obvious that the United States is in a deep pit it has not experienced since the Great Depression of 1929. So serious is this mess that, resolved or not, it will have profound effects on America's quality of life. Republican policies have been the major cause for this and the majority of other economic messes, as well as the twin deficits and the ballooned national debt the country is facing.
Unfortunately, there are no easy ways of dealing with the crisis. If the U.S. went to the International Monetary Fund for loans or advice, the IMF would recommend shock therapy comparable to one prescribed to Poland at the end of the Cold War. That strategy forced on Poland huge cuts in services, a decline in standard of living, and huge unemployment. It also reset the Polish economy and put it on a rapid slope to recovery. Will Americans be able — or willing — to pay the costs for the previous years of excesses? I think not.
The final layer is the socio-cultural layer plaguing the United States. It did not begin eight years ago, but it assumed a more prominent role during that period. Hate and racism embedded in code words became the norm. How can Obama unite such a fractured society unless he pursues the exact policies he so desperately needs to avoid and vigorously combat?
Finally, no policies will succeed unless the new president keeps his promise to be president to all Americans and, even then, there are no guarantees.