Obamamania vs. Objectivity

February 3, 2009

Have you purchased your Barack Obama Commemorative Collectors’ plate yet? How about the Obama Commemorative coin, or the “Obama Time” mantle clock, the Obama Holiday fleece or even the Barack Obama collector’s edition bottled water (can be called either H2Obama or Baraqua). Although I will admit I was tempted by the idea of being able to eat off the face of our new president emblazoned on an 8-inch white porcelain plate and encircled with genuine 22 karat gold, it seemed over the top.

Actually, the entire Obama frenzy seems over the top.

One Obama fan, who had been hanging around Obama’s hotel, told a Washington Post reporter that, “just to be in the same building, to be breathing the same air. It’s amazing.” The same sentiment has been flowing through millions of Americans nationwide and has only grown since Obama’s acceptance speech in Chicago before more than 250,000 supporters.

Obama is an impressive political figure. Although there exists a tremendous historical significance in being the first African American to be elected president, Obama also has been able to capitalize on the negative feelings towards Bush, the crumbling state of the economy under a Republican administration and his own rhetorical ability to speak to the hearts and minds of Americans.

However, Barack Obama will not be walking on water across the Potomac River. He is a human being, an impressive, well-educated, immensely capable human being. No man can be expected to completely fulfill all the duties required of the office of president to the full satisfaction of all parties and groups.

President Obama has a lot on his plate (the metaphorical one, not the limited edition collector’s plate for $29.99). Obama will first and foremost be expected to wrangle in the struggling economy, employ a new vision for Afghanistan and Iraq while trying to stifle Iran’s nuclear ambitions and somehow find time to implement healthcare reform.

What has brought Obama from humble Illinois state senator to president of the United States of America in only four years was his charismatic ability to connect with people. Obama has been able to tap people’s emotions and churn them into a passionate following. It is this passion, in his speeches and in his supporters, that has brought him where he is today.

Passion is a powerful thing. It is the defining element that allows people to fight for what they truly believe, but sheer blind passion is as dangerous as it is powerful. Passion must be coupled with logic and discernment in order to bring about positive change. There is passion on both sides of the aisle: those who are ready to point out Obama’s every shortcoming and those who will be unwilling to accept that this man has shortcomings at all.

We, however, must be able to look at Obama objectively. If he is able to turn this economy around and lead our nation to prosperity, then he deserves immense credit. If he fails to deliver on his many campaign promises, we should hold him accountable. What he does in the next four years will decide whether his place in history will be more than just a charismatic face on a commemorative plate.O

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