To be sure, it is no great surprise that Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States yesterday. He knows how to move a crowd. And even the German newspapers are celebrating by parroting the most overused platitude of this year: “Change!”
Certainly, there is reason for hope. The great distinguishing quality between America’s two parties is, after all, that one always aims to do the opposite of the other. I suppose one might call that change. But let’s not forget that our system is one of checks and balances, which could be loosely translated as “a great way to prevent change from actually happening.” Let’s also remember that now the election is over and in the White House, it’s back to business as soon as Mr. Obama has settled in. I’ll be curious to reevaluate the situation in a year and see what has changed. And whether the German press will still be so full of praise. I rather imagine that there, too, it’ll soon be back to business. Since criticizing the US is high on the list of frontpage headliners, I figure the attitude will be the same, only the face of the president will have changed.
But then, as one of my friends said with such pathos online this morning, hope and change are two things we all need right now.