Culture Lab U.K. (Culture-Lab)

The World Changed On Nov. 4, 2008


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November 4, 2008, was not only the day when America shifted on its axis but it was also a day that will change the world for better or worse.

The victory of a 47-year-old afro-American who was born when segregation was still the law of the land across much of America is something whose symbolism most likely requires no comment.

In addition to Obama's personal triumph, the overthrow of the Republican Party and the gains by the Democrats in Congress mean he will assume office with far more influence than many of his recent predecessors exercised.

Obama was a brilliant campaigner who will face enormous and almost insurmountable challenges after his inauguration. It is not surprising therefore that he is already downplaying expectations, knowing full well that he cannot live up to promises made during his campaign and the crash of the conservative wave does not necessarily mean the rise of a liberal one.

Although many found much of Obama's post-partisan rhetoric comforting it's highly doubtful however that these sentiments, even if sincere, reflect Washington's reality that believes that one side's gain is the other side's loss.

Democrats will soon be positioned to do much more than simply move legislation and will attempt to drive Republicans out of their key positions in the federal government and its web of lobbying firms. They will also install their own appointees in the federal courts and will also be able to raise money from those who formerly gave to the Republicans.

Moreover, the Republican Party's inability to offer more diversity in its top ranks with the exception of Sarah Palin threatens to become a crippling liability which is perhaps why Hispanics broke for Obama 67 percent to 31 percent. The party, somewhat puzzlingly failed to field a single minority candidate with a plausible chance to win a House or Senate seat or a governorship and it will enter the next Congress just as it entered the last two, without a single black member.

In the recent past the Republicans had a far better political infrastructure and they used direct mail and talk radio to run circles around liberals in order to raise money and to communicate their message throughout the establishment media, but this year was strikingly different because the technology and communications advantage was decisively with the Democrats.

Obama used the Internet to raise huge sums of money in a way not done before and people using pre-paid credit cards contributed money from overseas with at least one third of his funding seemingly coming from the Middle East and Africa and it remains to be seen if he will attempt to reveal the donors.

Guns, gays and abortion are not about to disappear from America's politics but their importance may well be diminished as the country confronts the problems of the worst economic situation since the depression, the future rise in oil prices global warming and the seemingly insurmountable problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and many other places.

Much about Obama's past is still unknown and it will undoubtedly continue to create controversy but henceforth he must be judged by his future deeds and not by his past associations.