Regardless of all the various affectations expressed at the election of our latest President, some of jubilation, some of despair, one fact remains: Barack Hussein Obama is the President of the United States of America. The American people have spoken. This fact, regardless of whatever emotion it happens to evoke, is one that we must accept.
However, in all the various remarks I have encountered concerning the election, there is one underlying notion in many of them that I deem to be rather peculiar. It is that there seems to have been expressed a tremendous amount of exultation over the fact that “history has been made,” in that Obama is the first black President of the United States. It is as if people regard “making history” as somehow inherently good.
A particular event is not good simply because it is unprecedented, for certainly there have been unprecedented events that “made history” and yet undeniably mar our past. This present moment in history can only legitimately be regarded as “good” if Obama indeed proves to move America in a positive direction. And yet there are some, especially within the black community, who, seeing in this man some sort of iconic representation of delivery from a perceived oppression, base their joy in his election solely on his color. The race of the President should have absolutely nothing to do with his election, and yet, as is quite obvious, some have expressed an almost religious devotion to “making history” by electing the first black President. This, my friends, is both absurd and naive. Being President of the United States isn’t a right – it’s a privilege that should be granted only in the presence of those qualities that, observed under close scrutiny, the American people deem necessary for leading a nation.
My main point is this: setting a precedent is not inherently good. Thus, only in retrospect can such judgments truly be made. Time will eventually grant us the means necessary to look back upon this moment in history and declare with some degree of certainty whether or not the unprecedented election of Barack Obama as President of the United States was a great achievement or a disastrous mistake.