IS THE BEST (really) YET TO COME?
Once the euphoria has settled we may all realize the result of the U.S. presidential election has
been a two-edged sword not only for America but for the rest of the world. On one side nothing has
changed: The polls confirmed the status quo and with it the inertia that handicapped President Barack
Obama's first term in office.
On the other side we escaped the Darwinian ˜Survival of the Fittest' policy of a Mitt Romney, his threatened
budget cuts with the specter of another recession, a rearmament drive and a probable war with Iran. A gun-ho
Netanyahu was weakened and the racist, anti-female, anti-black, anti-Latino and homophobic Tea Party was defeated.
Forget the oratorical skills of a re-elected president who in his victory speech promised â€œthe best is yet
to come and called for 'unity and cooperation' with a Republican Party whose basic principles are enshrined in private
enterprise, the privileges of the privileged and Business Ueber Alles.
Triumphant at the polls with an unexpected large majority Obama's hands continue to be tied by
a Congress in which the Republicans have a comfortable majority and are sure to block or dilute any
measure they deem harmful to America's rich and its rural population, the pillars of Republican power.
In reality the lopsided result is bad news for those who hoped the election would give either candidate the
legislative leverage to pull the U.S. economy out of its long slump so that America could once again lead a global
recovery. Bringing the U.S. back into manufacturing mode is considered a vital antidote against the relentless global
domination of the Chinese economy. The western business community was not interested whether Obama reduced
America's massive debt, industrial stagnancy and unemployment by taxing the rich or whether Mitt Romney would
inject more (probably printed) money into the U.S. economy. Their interest was in the application of a remedy that
would halt the global slide into recession.
It is sad the U.S. electorate overwhelmingly picked Obama for president but did not give him the
power to carry out his pledges. The reason: America remains almost equally divided into two nations, one
Republican, one Democrat, one 21st century the other stuck in a time war, one innovative the other
A brilliant orator with liberal ideas and dreams of a better society, Obama appealed far more to a new
generation of voters then his business-minded and affluent Mormon opponent and the anachronistic ideas of the
Republican right wing. Young voters and particularly single women, scared by Republican anti-feminism and talks of
war, gave Obama the edge.
The president was free to espouse his ideals for a more just society while Romney decided to shackle his
presidential aspirations to his party's religious fundamentalist wing, a powerful lobby which among other issues
clamors for an anachronistic ban on abortions, birth control and gay marriages. He also kowtowed to the Tea Party, a
mafia of political fundamentalists among them the hare-brained Sarah Palin. The Tea Party miserably failed to deliver
the reactionary vote. Perhaps it overestimated a right wing political force that makes more noise and receives more
attention then it obviously merits.
A new generation of voters in 2012 proved far more progressive then they were given credit by
the obsolete doctrines of the Republican Party's conservative wing.
In fact the most impressive result of the election was this: America is obviously changing, more and more of
its citizen no longer willing to accept the escalating discrepancy between rich and poor. A new generation of
empowered women and non-white minorities voted for a second term for an African-American president against all
historical evidence that presidents are never re-elected at a time when the US economy is in decline.
Obama's thumping victory has also been a slap in the face of the U.S. mass media which (led by its opinion
maker the New York Times) has been headlining a 'razor-edge election'. After the first returns came in CNN even
predicted a victory for Romney. No doubt political loyalty of the mass media is guided by the corporate interests of its
billionaire tycoons who almost always favor the Republican Party.
Still this time around Obama cannot disappoint the expectations he aroused when he promised so much
four years ago and managed to deliver so little. He will have to bridge the gap, often an abyss, between the two
political parties or make liberal use of his presidential veto to force changes. One way or the other he must become
aggressive rather then compromising if he wants to deliver.
With his domestic policy still a large question mark he does have more power to decide Washington 's
foreign policy, among the issues the embarrassing one-sided U.S. support for Israel in the Middle East. Then there is
the danger of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, virtually handing the country back to the Taliban. And what game will he
play in Syria where a civil war threatens to spill over to other Middle East countries, among them the always volatile
As a champion of humanitarian and moral issues (at least in speech) Obama will also have to decide whether
the United States continues its policy of killing its enemies (usually identified as terrorists) by remote-controlled drone
missile strikes. The Israelis who invented the drone strike system against Palestinian terrorists have labeled such
attacks targeted killings though no doubt these strikes are state-authorized assassinations with inevitable collateral
damage to innocent bystanders.
There is an obvious moral flaw in someone deciding that a person or persons thousands of miles away in
another sovereign nation must be exterminated with a remote controlled killing method because their deaths is
perceivedas in the interests of the United States and their life is perceived as a threat to U.S. national security. There
is neither a trial nor a jury to hear evidence in these cases. Someone decides. Someone pushes a button.
In the end President Obamaâ€™s legacy may not be success at home but in channeling America's
considerable military might toward more pacific tasks. Instead of bombing nations into rubble and killing enemies with
unmanned killer planes (the kind of video game where the far away dealer of death has been taped shouting: (Light
them up!) Obama could change the growing global conception of the American bully.
Uli Schmetzer is a former foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Chicago Tribune. He is the author of four books,
available on Amazon and Kindle.