Throughout the moments that surrounded the inauguration of President Obama, the overwhelming theme was the skin color that makes the man (and understandably so). The first African-American Head-of-State in the 232 years of the United States of America—a fit that takes on more prominence once you factor in the consciousness that a black man now mans the cockpit of the world’s sole superpower.
Now a month and some days into the Obama administration, race is the last thing that will define this presidency. As a matter of fact, the man’s color has become an afterthought albeit not irrelevant.
In what best-selling author, David E. Sanger, has so lucidly termed “The Inheritance,” Barack Obama finds himself at a unique fork in world history. The United States is caught in a gale wind of economic upheaval, unending wars in two distant lands, terrorist threats from Islamic extremists, and vicious pursuits from relentless powerful nations. It is a perfect storm that finds its sole solace in remorseless time.
In my estimation, this indisputably puts the Obama presidency as the third most crucial administration since the creation of the republic; right behind those of Abe Lincoln and FDR respectively. For anyone that has ever achieved excellence in any endeavor, it must be agreed that its attainment milds to its retention. And so it is with Obama and the United States of the 21st century.
From the dawn of time, empires have risen and fallen—the Roman, the Persian, the Egyptian, and so many others through the ages. Now as a result of the earlier stated storm, this empire—the United States—seems favored by history for a wild and violent tumble down the rocks.
In his quasi-State-of-the-Union address to Congress, President Obama confronted this destiny and refused to accept the end which it brings. “While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times” he said, “tonight I want every American to know this—we will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before!”
It is a determined affront to history. The president readily recognizes that no nation is conquered from without unless it has first conquered itself from within. Obama’s defense against history is a fort armored with a heavy artillery of governmental accountability and personal responsibility—a recipe he believes must forbear the Grim Reaper or everything else fails.
For Obama’s sake and that of every American, this defense must be one that is not coming too late down an already unforgiving path. In a U.S. National Intelligence Council report last year, Global Trends 2025, Russia promises to assume the role the U.S. currently holds—an unequivocal dire prediction of the time we live in.