United States' first African American president

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin) - The United States has completed a cultural, psychological and racial revolution by electing its first African American president, Barack Obama.

Age 47, the 44th U.S. president is not the youngest on the long list: Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Ulysses Grant were all younger. But he definitely has the darkest skin.

This is a historic achievement for a country where racial segregation was a fact of everyday life until the end of the 1960s.

Less than six months ago, it seemed the U.S. would have its first woman president, Hillary Clinton, who withdrew from the race when Obama surged ahead of her.

Contrary to what the Republican candidate, John McCain, thought, covert racism did not stop Americans from voting for Obama. Something serious is changing in the country, or somebody is doing this to it by acting "as usual" when what the country wants is change.

Obama's predecessors, and mostly George W. Bush, must have done something really bad for Americans to vote for Barack Obama.

People are tired of neo-Conservatism, Reaganomics, market fundamentalism, the two Bushes, and wars, and are ready to head in a new direction. Obama has been given a credit of confidence, a much larger one than any of his predecessors.

The official vote tallying will take some time, but it is clear that Obama has over 52% of the vote against McCain's less than 46%. He has 349 votes of the 538 members of the U.S. Electoral College, who will meet in each state to cast their votes for President and Vice President on December 15. McCain has only 162 and the required minimum is 270.

Democrats, who have controlled the Congress since 2006, will now have a solid majority in both houses. Last time this happened was in 1980, when Ronald Reagan and Republicans came to power, and in 1932, when the Democratic nominee, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, won.

Obama is unlikely to propose a radical policy, such as Roosevelt's New Deal, although few people in the U.S. expected FDR to put the country back on its feet after the Great Depression. The current financial crisis is bad, but not as bad as the economic hardships of the 1920s.

Judging by his speeches, Obama knows the problems and claims to know the way to deal with them. If only it took simple approval in the Congress to do so. Unfortunately, Americans will not feel immediate relief for lack of possibilities - and above all funds.

Roosevelt inherited a ruined economy, but Bush left an even more burdensome legacy to Obama. In addition to economic crisis, he will have to fight the consequences of Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the irritation of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Iran, North Korea and Russia. Irritation was their natural reaction to the recent irrational U.S. decisions in geopolitics, the regional, nuclear, trade and military policies, and actions in the UN and elsewhere.

Even Britain, not to mention Germany, France and Italy, agree that someone in the White House has been lagging behind the times in the past four or six years. The West is openly questioning the U.S. right to dominate the world.

If you imagine the world as a map of problems Obama will have to deal with, you will see that he will not have the time, troops or money to deal with all of them simultaneously. This means that many Americans, who believe in miracles too often too easily, will soon become disappointed in Obama.

The 44th president will have a difficult time immediately after assuming office. He will have no honeymoon with his country. When happiness over their democratic sentiments and political correctness evaporates, Americans will get down to business with Obama as only a country in a deep crisis, dissatisfied with what has been done to it before Obama and with what he intends to do to with it, can.

However, even this will be a smaller evil that what would have happened in the U.S. and around it with John McCain at the helm. But when the post-victory euphoria wears off, Obama's election promises will materialize as slow and painful change, at least in the first four years. And voters really hate this.

Obama will begin by changing the team. All presidents have brought their own teams to Washington, D.C., changing the tone and even the social style of the capital city. This happens even when the new president comes from the same party, but you can expect some spectacular change now because the new president is from a different party and has a different skin color.

Obama has warned against the impending change, but change sometimes happens contrary to the will of the new Chief Executive.

Under JFK, Washington was described as the new Camelot, the legendary center of King Arthur's realm. It was a Washington sparkling with the colors of Hollywood, filled with film stars, writers and other celebrities, intrigues and collusions.

Jimmy Carter, who hated pomp and ceremony, cut official functions to a required minimum and started saving energy. He even put solar panels on the White House roof.

Ronald Reagan removed the panels and reopened Washington's doors to Hollywood glamour.

Under Bill Clinton, Washington became home to bohemian simplicity from Clinton's base state, Arkansas.

George Bush brought Texan expansion and conservatism to the capital. His team thought twice before inviting African American music groups or, God forbid, entertainers with nontraditional sexual orientations to the White House. Bush did not like official functions, inoculated Washington with a religious vaccine, and just as people in backwater America do, went to sleep before midnight.

What Obama will definitely change is the famous carpet in the Oval Office, as no new president has ever walked on the old carpet because it's bad luck. The change costs a lot.

Bush Sr. changed Reagan's carpet for a blue-gray rug with the presidential seal in shades of gold for $28,500.

Clinton's bold, dark blue rug had a large center medallion of the presidential seal and cost $38,000.

Bush Jr. chose a rug woven with a blue seal and gold eagle in the middle with golden rays emanating out and an outer border of laurel branches, worth $68,000.

What carpet will Obama have?

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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