Next Wave International Next Wave International™ is a faith-based communications group which is
training organizations to engage the future & move society forward
in a positive direction. Founder / Director: Mal Fletcher

What The New President Must Do

Mal Fletcher
Posted 06 November 2008
View full list    Print version    PDA version    
Finally, after the longest pre-election race in US history, the world knows the identity of the next incumbent to the American presidency.

Barack Obama will become the forty-fourth US president and the first African-American to hold that high office. He is also, at the age of forty-seven, the first member of the so-called Generation X to fill that role - but more on that shortly.

President elect Obama will take office at a time of great uncertainty in his nation. It faces a debt of something like one trillion dollars, is fighting a war on two fronts and is almost certainly approaching a recession.

On top of all this, its currency of moral influence in the world has taken a battering over the past few years, as news of abuses of POWs and questions about the legality of the Iraq war have dominated news cycles.

In a radio interview this morning, I was asked what I thought of the fear and apprehension some people are expressing about the largely unknown senator from Illinois.

I don't think it's Obama per se that some people fear, or claim to; it is more likely the idea of change itself.

Yes, much about Obama's attitudes remains a mystery to us, but that must surely be the case with most incumbents when they are young and, it terms of public service, relatively inexperienced.

But we can hardly expect someone of 47 years of age to have served in the Senate for as long as his opponent, Senator McCain. And a relative lack of past experience does not necessarily equal a lack of judgement for the future, which is after all they key quality one looks for in a national leader.

After his inauguration in January, President Obama will need to quickly establish himself in four areas.

First, he must keep his stated commitment to govern for all Americans.

In his victory speech he made reference to Republicans who had served the country with distinction. It was his way of demonstrating his respect for gifted leaders on both sides of the political aisle. He must express that respect with more than words, perhaps by including Republicans in his cabinet.

Secondly, he will need to prove that he can add pragmatism to his clear skills as an idealist, dream-caster and communicator.

He has evidently built around him a strong and talented team thus far. If this is an indication of his skills as a pragmatist, Americans may feel encouraged.

If he is typical of his generation, Barak Obama will bring a level of pragmatic thinking into everything he does. Gen-Xers are, generally, less impressed with pure idealism than their Boomer forebears. They tend to listen to the dream then demand to know how it can be achieved.

So perhaps this will be true of Mr Obama, who has already demonstrated his appeal to the idealists among us.

Of course, this pragmatism will always need to be tempered with a sense of higher moral purpose - and an accountability to history and future generations. Those of us who maintain a religious faith might also argue that he must add to this a sense of accountability to God.

Today's America is arguably an increasingly secular place, but the influence of its Judeo-Christian heritage should not be underestimated.

The Judeo-Christian worldview has proven itself a worthy partner in building a nation that is in many respects the envy of the world. It should not be abandoned on the altar of pure pragmatism, or jettisoned in the interests of short-term political expediency.

The new president will also need to do what he can to heal America's damaged reputation overseas.

At present, the EU is reaching out to Mr Obama, seeking to recast Europe as a key partner in America's future ambitions and an equal in terms of global influence.

Whether America wants to see the EU in the latter light is another matter, but she must at least reach out in a multi-lateral way on key issues of security, peace and the economic situation.

Finally, the new president will need to avoid tacking too far to the left, especially in areas like that appointment of Supreme Court justices in future and in support of highly volatile issues such as abortion rights and support for homosexual marriages.

He must find a way forward, which respects the interests and aspirations of the majority without compromising America's moral compass for this or future generations.

For people of faith, it is worth remembering that electing a president is not the same as 'calling a pastor' to a church. Presidents preside over the big tent - they must work for as broad a constituency as possible. Yet we can expect - and Americans must demand - that they keep to the core values that have made their nation strong.

Besides, there is nothing at all to be gained from encouraging the innacurate perception that 'all Christians are on the political right', or that the 'relgious right' means the same thing as 'the Christian church.'

It does not and never has, for the true church is apolitical - it calls all men and women, whatever their political views, to see Christ first as their leader.

We can all but hope - and pray - that America's future under Obama reaches at least partway up the high mountain of his rhetoric.


Copyright Mal Fletcher 2008


What’s your view?

Do you believe Barack Obama will bring positive change to the US?

Yes

No

Keywords: barack Obama | election | president | president elect | presidential | elect | democracy | iraq | afghanistan | Mal Fletcher

Permission to reproduce this article    Send us your feedback    Send this to a friend




Next Wave International is a powerful mission to Europe.
Make a Difference Today!




Read Mal's NEW book...
'FASCINATING TIMES: A Social Commentary'


Catch Mal on EDGES TV...
A Fresh Look At Our World Today...






Search This Site

Add Next Wave to your Favorites
Latest News
BBC News
CNN Europe
EuroNews
Mal Fletcher Media Appeal
Austerity - Are Governments Wrong? Mal on BBC
Should Sunday Trading Be Extended? Mal on BBC
Racism vs Racial Identity - Mal on BBC
Are Churches Playing Big Brother? Mal on Premier Radio
Chips Under The Skin & Bio-Hacking - Mal on ABC Radio
More News...
Sign up for e-news

Want to keep in touch with what Next Wave is doing each month? Enter your email address below.

Your Feedback
I am a youth pastor in Poland. I discovered you about two months ago & I am very encouraged by your ministry. I like your wisdom & sound opinions. You are my hero even though I've never seen you and you don`t know me.
Slawek, Poland

I love your programme EDGES on Finland's TV7. It is the best TV programme for young people. Thank you!
Johanna, Finland

Dear Mal, I saw you some years ago in Lisbon. I was deeply blessed by your prophetic spirit for the nations. I'm especially moved by your messages that speak about being an influence in our world...
Paulo Batista, Portugal

Send us your feedback