November 04, 2009

Obama Anniversary

So, it's one year now since Obama won a historic election.

We — not to mention the media — tend to overuse the 'historic' word all too often and thereby have devalued it quite a bit. I think Obama's win was one of those occasions that truly deserves this epithet.

We humans are at a stage in our evolution when our ethnic, national, racial, etc. identities mean a lot to us. We have not yet learnt to transcend these narrow definitions of who we are. In India, of course, we still continue to cling — like our lives depended on this — to our religions, our caste, and sub-castes and what not.

And so the media will predictably spend hours discussing Obama's successes and failures in these past 365 days. Perhaps in a set-up as complex as that prevailing in the United States, it's not much that a President can do. Crises of course present opportunities. FDR was a "war President" who rose to the multiple challenges that he was presented with. Lincoln of course shines for the ages for how he tackled a crisis that threatened to put an end to the very nation he led.

George W. Bush responded in his manner to the challenge presented by 9/11 and history will give him his proper due. Obama has basically inherited many crises ... two wars and a severe economic collapse. His term will be defined by how he tackles these challenges. He was elected on a promise and platform of "change." His attempts to bring about major change to the healthcare and energy sector in the U.S. continue and it remains to be seen at this point in time what fruits those endeavors will bear. I remain hopeful ...

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