At first blush, it makes me sick. The U.S. media and entertainment industries are fawning over the new president like he's the second coming. Expectations have been jacked up sky high to the point that it would be impossible for any mortal to fulfill them. And I expect that we will find that out soon. It would be nice to think that it is possible for one man to change the world - and I suppose it has happened before, but my fear is that change is expected overnight. The media and Hollywood types are falling all over themselves with promises of hope and change that will magically appear today with the entry to the White House of Barack Obama. I suspect that the pain for people on the street is just beginning. The unemployed, disenfranchised, working poor, homeless and home poor will have to accept a much bigger role in changing their own lives than just cheering for a man who offers hope.
The media and entertainment attention and hyperbole is a mile wide and an inch deep as they wrestle with each other for 15 second sound bites full of promise from spectators desperate to blame the previous administration for everything from acne to war. Not that Bush doesn't deserve to carry the bag for a lot of what went wrong but greed, disinterest, myopia, naivete and downright stupidity were not the exclusive playground of the president - he had a lot of partners - about 350 million of them.
Anyway, I think that when Obama finally settles into office (150 million for inaugural festivities is obscene - imagine the media outcry if the Republicans had spent that much) and starts to take control of the levers, most people are going to find out that he will have to make a lot of very unpopular decisions. After the honeymoon is over and citizens figure out that they too have to make some decisions and take some actions, let's hope that some common sense and realistic time lines will develop to support Obama's effort to get the machine moving again.
One last thing I know for sure, we should NEVER count out the American ability to rise above challenges and truly create a brave new world. If I needed to bet on one country - I think I might bet on the U.S.