Oh, my God, it’s impending socialism! Oh, my God, Obama’s not being progressive enough! Oh, my God, he’s using Bill Clinton’s old advisers! Oh, my God, it’s the end of the road for white people! Oh, my God, this and that! Can we just settle down a little bit, people; our guy isn’t even acting President yet.
Seemingly minutes after the election was called for our new President-Elect Barack Obama, after the tears dried on everyone’s faces, the nation went into panic mode.
We are all eagerly anticipating what changes the new administration will bring, whether we are dems or repubs, and the pressure is on, big time. It’s the old “chicken without a head” routine, and I’m hearing it everywhere I’ve been since Tuesday night. We all want a piece of the Obama pie; we are impatient, and rightly so. But, jeez, Americans, can we all just stop and take a breath here?
Rumors are flying fast and furious. I’m in Texas, McCain territory, I fear (even though for the first time in 8 years, people were not afraid to be Democrats during this campaign). Now that the concession and acceptance speeches have been made, the speculation has started. I’ve heard everything from “Obama’s going to take away white people’s rights and we’ll have socialism soon,” to “He’s not going to change anything now that he’s in office. It will be more of Bush’s policies; he’ll forget where he came from,” and on and on in every imaginable form of overheard conversation and chats with friends and family.
I happen to be the poor little retarded Democrat in my family, and I’m getting a double earful now. My parents and siblings are horrified with me, as if I had been personally responsible for his election. They are saying to me, “Don’t talk politics right now.” “Can’t you get rid of that sticker?” “Well, your boy won. Now what?” I have no answer for that, except, “We’ll see, won’t we?”
Even here at Op-Ed News the gossip is flying. People are second-guessing Obama’s motives before he’s even had a chance to move in to his new digs. I am clear on the fact that we as progressives do need to keep a close watch on what is happening and “hold his feet to the fire,” as Rob said, but let’s settle down first and give the guy some credit. He is taking up a huge burden right now, and some of the articles I’ve been reading are really negative and angry already.
Progressives are not the only ones Obama has to answer to. He has to juggle things for the entire country, which, I’m afraid, still contains conservatives and moderates. Moreover, he has inherited a huuuuge mess. He will not be able to get everything done at once. His entire term is bound to be a real struggle. At least he’s got a majority in Congress to work with. And, what if he does use some of Clinton’s people? We had an American economy that was in the black when Clinton was in office; China did not own us; gas was fairly reasonable; unemployment was a lot lower; don’t you remember? His people have experience. I say, use them.
It is highly unrealistic to think that progressives are going to get all of what we want right off the bat. It is, however, realistic to keep our collective finger on the pulse of this administration and stay involved at whatever level of commitment we can maintain. Nevertheless, I, for one, say, let’s settle down a little bit and stay centered while we are moving forward.