The last time I looked, Barack Obama did not wear a full-body leotard and cape, nor could he leap tall buildings in a single – or several – bounds. Thus, as proud as I was to vote for him, and as excited as I am that he will be out next president, I expect him to disappoint a great number of people who helped elect him.
It won’t be his fault.
It will be ours. Perhaps it is because we have spend eight years in purgatory with the Cheney/Bush Industrial-Military Regime in which we experienced the slow, but increasingly rapid descent from disappointment and proceeding into despair into hopelessness; or perhaps it is because at long last we have, within the memory of those who experienced the thrill and expectation of Robert Kennedy’s interrupted candidacy, but we, as a group, appear to have set up expectations that are, quite simply, impossible for any mortal to meet.
Hardly a day goes by that I do not hear someone on the radio (I rarely watch television) saying what tremendous things President Obama will accomplish.
He will maketh us lie down in clean, green energy farms;
He leadeth us out of Iraq and Afghanistan
He will restoreth our health care.
Yea, though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Recession,
We will fear no evil, for He is with us;
His Rom (Emmanuel) and his Staff, they comfort me;
He prepareth a (negotiation) table before me in the presence of mine enemies
He annointeth my head with oil independence; my cup runneth over.
And when stark reality sets in, and we find that the Man Obama must take on the mantle of the Leader Obama, wrestling with the hard facts of life, we will, like disenchanted zealots, curse at him and accuse him of betrayal.
Way back in the days of the Commodore 64 computer – yes, I had one and proudly – there was one of the first computer games. It was called Hammurabi. I remember sitting there for several nights in a row with my computer game magazine typing the game commands in Basic – “ifc=>4thenz=100 – so I could play this game.
In it, the player was the King of Hammurabi, the fictional kingdom named after the 18th Century BCE Babylonian ruler who was one of the first to codify law. As such, you had to make choices – should you save more of your corn harvest to plant next year and provide for your people, or should you sell more of it off to pay for troops and stimulate trade? Inevitably, you had to make decisions that would cause some of your people to become upset with you, sometimes defecting to other kingdoms, sometimes revolting, sometimes dying. When there was a revolt, you had to decide how to deal with it – by force or by negotiation – and in doing so ran the risks of disenfranchising even more.
To win the game, you had to survive 20 years as ruler – about half as long as the real Hammurabi and 2/5ths as long as Obama – without causing too many of your subjects to revolt and overthrow you.