Like the rest of the world, I too sat up late watching a moment when History is made right before our eyes: The installation of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the USA. The crowds that swept into Washington DC to watch the first African-American take the "sacred oath" as Obama put it, was unprecedented. The music that was strummed up for the occasion was a blend of blues, country, jazz and rock: a mixture that will appeal to all ages.
First of all, Obama slipped in taking the oath. He must have rehersed it before taking the oath, and the Chief Justice had to administer it again in the White House. Apart from that "foul up" the oath taaking went off perfectly.
The speech itself was a bit of diaappointment: the rhetorical flourish that we have come to expect from Obama was not there. But the substance of his policy was laid out in good measure. Rightly he said that the time for hard decisions has come: the recession has hit the middle classes very badly and the 800 billion $ bail out package will certainly bring some cheer. I feel the Obama will adhere the Keynesian macro-economic policies by which huge government projects will be launched to create assets and employment, and therefore the fiscal deficit will increase leading to a degree of inflation. But the economy will, hopefully, pull through.
Obama struck the right chord by referring to the long road the American society has taken since Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. His election has certainly brought a sea change in the attitude of many who were hostile to US and its international behavior. Obama has not only a broken economy to deal with, but also a very difficult international situation. Israel and Palestine issue, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan are all pressing problems and the world is watching to see his moves. I think he will ensure that the free hand given to Israel in dealing with the Palestenians will be reined in: USA will play a more pro-active role in the peace process and the Annapolis process may be kickstarted again. On Iran, I think Obam will be much more realistic and will not ingulge in the axix of evil rhetoric that spoined the party for Bush. The closing down of Git Bay Prison has started with the excecutive order haltin the trials.
On education Obama will be a real innovator. He has rightly stated that real change can be brought about only through quality education and I have a feeling that the hall mark of this presidency will be education and health insurace.
The American people have shown courage and maturity in electing Obama. Now he must live up to the Great Expectations he has raised all over the world.