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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obamanation

Yesterday we saw the first black man in the history of the United States be sworn in as President. For many this was a monumental achievement in the arena of human rights and the turning of a page in the history book of America.

This incredibly publicized event was viewed by 7.7 million people online (stat care of Akamai Technologies Inc.) and innumerable others throughout the world on TV and in person in Washington.

Given that this inauguration and inevitably, Obama's presidency, has had more publicity and more hype centred around it than any other President in the past, is there a chance that his policies, actions (and inactions), choices, manner, and relations will suffer or in some way be influenced in a way that will negatively impact the political significance and agency he claims to bring to US and global politics?

Think about the 10 glitzy balls he and his wife 'had' to attend and schmooze their way though after a long, emotional and draining day. Consider Obama’s goal to be the most transparent president ever, drawing back the red white and blue shroud that has masked and enabled so much deception throughout presidencies past.

Will his administration's efforts to socially network their way into the hearts, minds, and voting ballots of the country really serve his purpose? Or will his ubiquitous media presence actually hamper his ability to function as a figure of power and decisive action? There is certainly much to be said for being accessible to the people of your country, but does all this attention allow him to do his job any better?

One must wonder how the status update, "Barack is going to bomb a small village in Kandahar to bits" will go over with the online community of pollyannaish Facebookers and fans. Though this fictional status update may not be directly related to his agenda, these types of decisions are the daily doses of reality faced by presidents; loved by the people or not.

Will these sort of inevitable and difficult decisions jar the American people out of a half-century-old doctor's dream? Or will they entrench the supportive cries of those who always knew he'd do what it takes to raise an American phoenix from the ashes of a recession?

Sound off...

Tay