Obama’s victory, though certainly representative of change, is valuable for another reason — one which may be more pertinent to those of us outside of the American administration.
I’d like to thank Andrew Sullivan for posting this video that has been circulating the web. In it, Obama manages to establish himself as one of the more charismatic figures in this election, and also capitalizes on his victory to perhaps sway some of the other states. But he also demonstrates something far, far more important.
Though indeed Obama asserts his role in history as the first black man to make a splash in the elections, he also demonstrates his capacity to foresee a successful run as President. During the speech, Obama makes clear that he is going to obey the desire of the American public — and the world en masse — for a quiet political sphere. This encompasses everything from global politics straight through to the everyday buzz seen in the news concerning politicians.
He begins by demonstrating that he can be polite to the people. His entire composure is far more humble than Bush’s ever was — quotidian garb or otherwise! Straight away, he gives thanks to the people, and points out that they were the ones who caused the event. Though this is nothing new — what President doesn’t try to pet the nation’s ego? — his bearing seems genuine, not just political. By emphasizing the role of the public, he manages to underplay his own role, allowing him to maintain a calm, wise presence.
And his policy follows suit. It goes from overt and international (ending the war in Iraq) to subtle and media-oriented (ending the Blue-Red war). Should he accomplish these two acts, America will indubitably fade into the background. After all, name a single issue which captured as many headlines as either of these during Bush’s reign… you won’t find many! The greatest physical promise he makes is that he will implement a public health care system. Compare this to Bush’s resume (War on Terror, supporting torture, vetoes of everything under the Sun), and it would seem that Obama is setting his sights on remaining behind the scenes, instead of dominating them. And though he clearly would be making the history books should he win the election, even this was underplayed in his speech; If he has his wish, the public will note the accomplishment without a single hint on his part.
So what’s left? A Clinton-esque scandal? Barring something major like an assassination, there seems little that Obama could do to one-up even Clinton on the scale of major controversies! And that, more than anything else, is what Obama’s message speaks of: Avoiding controversies. Though he cuts a powerful image as he declares the battle between Red and Blue States obsolete, his Presidency would be one of a powerful silence when compared to the Neoconservative reign of terror.
Will this save America from economic recession? Perhaps not; Having a socially-oriented set of policies when your nation is struggling economically is rarely a solid idea. But whether America sinks or floats, Obama will begin rebuilding the American image on a global scale, as well as treating wounds between the people and their politicians. His victory in Iowa may be remembered as the starting point of a historic campaign, but in the global consciousness, here’s hoping it’s remembered as the starting point of a much-needed healing process — and a quiet one, at that!