United States of whatever

James Porteous

While it may seem slightly self-indulgent to be writing an editorial based on the election process of another country, in a student newspaper, the momentous events in the United States that have taken place over the last week certainly merit mention within the pages of Guardian.

The US has spent the last eight years blundering along under the embarrassment of having George W. Bush as their representative to the world – a man whose two terms have seen a $236 billion Federal budget surplus wither into a $454.8 billion deficit, a man who has led a country into arguably the most unpopular war since Vietnam, a man who continually, bafflingly, makes an absolute ass of himself on the international stage.

In the early hours of last Thursday morning, the world watched Barack Obama tell thousands of supporters in person, and millions more around the world, about his vision for change; his response to whether he and the American people could accomplish it echoed around Chicago’s Grant Park – “Yes we can.”

The question now seems to be how he can accomplish this – speaking figuratively, Obama has arrived at the end of an eight year house party, and will have to spend a great deal of time clearing up the mess left by his predecessor and company, before he can even begin to make truly sweeping changes.

Indeed, with the US and the UK currently sitting on interest rates of 1% and 3% respectively, governments bailing out various financial institutions, and companies like General Motors struggling wildly with the current financial climate, who knows what further developments lie in store for the banking system before he takes office on January 20th next year.

While Barack Obama may well prove to be the best thing that has happened to the United States of America in the last decade, he now has to prove that his charisma and rhetoric can be converted into a term of improvement and, as he has so frequently promised, real change for the US.


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