Today marks a big change for America, and for the world, as George W Bush leaves office and Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the USA.
It’s been no secret that over the last 6 months I have been one of the few, and one of the most vocal members of the BUCF committee that supported Obama over McCain during the presidential race. I might be a member of the Conservative party, but I am not, and never have been, a Republican and found McCain-Palin’s policies on domestic, social and foreign issues to be at conflict to what I believe.
So as D O’D said recently, today I must be jumping for joy.
And yes, I suppose I am. I am overjoyed at the end of some of the worst years America has seen. One of the most unpopular Presidents and indeed administrations that the US has seen in its history has come to an end, and in has swept a charismatic young President who promises the hope and change that most of America (who, we shouldn’t forget, lie far more left than the two parties who represent them do) has been craving.
So we don’t have to worry about Roe vs. Wade being overturned any time soon. We can look forward to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, a war which has been unpopular and unjustified since it’s beginning. And we can wait with bated breath for the liberalisation of certain social issues and perhaps a change in stance from America towards the atrocities currently going on in Gaza.
But I firmly believe while we can hope these things, we have to be cautious and realistic. Yes, Obama will be a far better and more popular president for America than McCain would, and most of the world is waiting with bated breath to see what an Obama administration will bring. (hence Israel ticking things off their ‘fuck it’ list in the last dying days of the Bush administration by throwing all they’ve got at Gaza while Bush turns a blind eye..) But we must be prepared for things to not be as rosy as we hope.
Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel is a good indicator. He has expressed support of Bush’s position on Iraq. At a 2003 pro-Israel rally, Emanual told marchers that ‘Israel was ready for peace but would not get there until Palestinians turn away from the path of terror’.
Obama’s appointment of Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State, who has stated she is “an emphatic, unwavering supporter of Israel’s safety and security” is another indication as to how an Obama administration will view International issues. She also voted in favour of the Iraq War Resolution in 2002 to give George Bush authority to invade Iraq.
Though we can welcome Obama’s Presidency with open arms, with Proposition 8 being passed on the same day as his election victory and being one of the most ridiculous and disgusting pieces of legislature that has been passed in a long time in my opinion, and his choice of administration staff (who’s controversy is not limited to just the two I’ve mentioned here), we can hope for change but we should do so with open eyes.