History will be made this week as we inaugurate our first African-American president, Barack Obama (as if you’ve been living in a cave for the past few months). The job he faces is one I wouldn’t wish on any enemy. I think The Onion said it best with their post-election headline, “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job”. Good luck, President Obama; I’ll be praying for you.
Mr. Obama’s election was a favorite topic of discussion when I visited with our partner in The Netherlands in December. Without surprise, his election is viewed favorably around the world, part of the reason being (from what I’ve read and heard) that America has finally demonstrated that an African American (or any minority, for that matter) could hold the nation’s highest office. I find this curious, as I’m totally unsurprised that we’ve elected an African American man president. Perhaps it’s my generation, or where I grew up (South Mississippi); I just think I’ve always thought it inevitable. The world’s impression of what’s possible (or not possible) in America notwithstanding, the world has huge (likely unrealistic) expectations of our new President. It’s a good thing that President Obama will be backed by 300,000,000 willing and helpful Americans.
So what does the future hold for us in the Obama era? The American economy is a rubber band, being pulled back each month this recession continues, and soon the rubber band will be let loose. There is already a huge backlog of technology infrastructure upgrades, from operating systems to servers. Obama has promised significant investment in infrastructure and green technologies. Americans continue to innovate with Web 2.0 and social technologies. Americans will soon tire of driving their current cars and will start buying new ones again. The glut of cheap housing will become attractive again as housing prices bottom out and cheap, 4.5% money is widely available.
The only question is how quickly can President Obama figure out how to let the rubber band loose. I wish I knew the answer, but if there’s anything I can do to help in the meantime, Mr. President, please let me know.