have been some great newspaper cartoons that vividly illustrate the
challenge facing your new President-elect Obama. The best one has
been a simple picture of Barack and his shadow. He is human-sized;
his shadow Paul Bunyan-like with the word ‘expectations emblazoned
that’s the rub, Mr. Obama will never live up to his promises, his
platform or his expectations. And with the possible exception of the
day he is inaugurated, he will never have a higher approval rating
than he did Wednesday morning.
no amount of charisma, no amount of talk of inclusiveness and change,
no amount of hope, faith or good intentions will remove the harsh
reality that your nation is in real trouble and real decline.
not to take anything away from his victory, and it’s certainly not
taking away the historic change his election represents to your
nation. A nation, as you know, that has struggled for much of its two
hundred years with horrible racism.
an aside, isn’t it ironic that with the election of your first
black President and the breakthrough it represents, you have three
states, Arizona, California and Florida, who, through propositions,
continue to discriminate against their gay citizens by denying them
the simple human right and dignity to marry)
despite its touchstone philosophy of change, will do nothing to stop
your decline. Your century – The Century of America with its heyday
in the post-WWII period – is behind you. And how could it be
otherwise when it was but a house of cards built and maintained on a
mountain of debt.
are no longer in the place you used to be and you cannot continue to
play the role you did. You are a nation that desperately wants to
keep its place; worse, you wish to go backwards to what once was. But
truth is you can never go back. You cannot continue to live the way
you have; you need to prepare your psyche for the reality you are no
longer a ‘superpower’ and will have to do things differently.
will, in fact, have to do the one thing that challenges every
American: putting yourself into someone else’s shoes first
and understanding their (and their nation’s) point of view rather
than jamming your own point of view down our throats as if it is the
only point of view that matters.
President-elect, I think, gets this and is preparing you for this
first crucial, and difficult, step.
I wish him, and you all, the best
your Canadian neighbour,