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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Too soon to judge Obama’s presidency

    Perhaps I’m just too young to remember previous presidential elections accurately, but it feels like this most recent election and subsequent inauguration has been more polarizing than most. As far as I can recall, no president in recent memory has been met simultaneously with such fervent adoration and odium. People view President Barack Obama either as the Messiah they’ve been waiting for, or as Beelzebub incarnate.

    Obama himself seems to have jumped on his own Messianic bandwagon, to some extent. His first act as president was to sign a declaration naming Jan. 20 a “”National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation.”” Now, I like Barack Obama as much as the next goofily liberal, overly optimistic twenty-year-old. I voted for the man. I’ll admit I got a little teary at his acceptance speech on Election Night, and felt warm and fuzzy in all the right places on Inauguration Day.

    But even to me, this felt like a bit much. A few hours after the inauguration was too soon to determine a president’s success in renewing and reconciling a nation in such dire straits as ours. Such a declaration felt campy and silly, especially as it was made before Obama took any real presidential action.

    Maybe eight years down the line, when the economy has been restored, health care fixed, education funded, two wars ended, the streets paved with gold and the land flowing with milk and honey, I’d celebrate a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation. But for now, Obama should focus less on soaring oratory and more on the arduous tasks at hand.

    Even more disturbing, however, is the intense backlash from Obama detractors. Rush Limbaugh actually had the gall to say on Fox News’s “”Hannity”” that he hopes President Obama fails. He accused Republicans who have promised to support Obama of being turncoats, saying, “”they’re drinking the Kool-Aid too.”” He claimed that the only motive these Republicans have for standing behind Obama is that “”they’re afraid of being called racists.””

    Hopeful as I was that post-election, people would stop focusing on Obama’s race and start paying attention to his abilities, Limbaugh managed to prove me sadly wrong. He seems to have no problem whatsoever appearing racist, going so far as to disparage reasonable Republicans for supporting a black president. His final and unequivocal statement on the matter: “”So I shamelessly say, no, I want him to fail.””

    Limbaugh doesn’t seem to realize that if Obama fails, that means the president of the whole United States fails. He won’t just bring his “”cult”” of admirers down with him; we’re all in this together, for at least the next four years. It is unfathomably unpatriotic to wish failure on the president, no matter who he is or how one feels about him.

    So which is President Obama? Savior or Satan, friend or foe?

    The answer, of course, is none of the above. He’s the president. So both sides need to back off the crazed rhetoric and let the man do his damn job. As a country, we elected him, and he deserves our support. Already his administration is off to a fast-paced start, proving that one thing we can expect from this presidency is action.

    But it has only been thirteen days, which is not nearly enough time to determine what kind of leader President Obama will be, let alone how he will be remembered. It’s time to get past election season and allow its outcome, our new president, to make the important decisions we elected him to make, and maybe – hopefully – leave this country better off than he found it.

    – Heather Price-Wright is a creative writing and Latin American studies sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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