Barack Obama is now officially the 44th president of the United States. Which also means that George Bush is no longer the 43rd president of the United States, which means an end to eight years of severe reality-denial syndrome at the highest levels of the executive branch of the United States government. Barack Obama may or may not end up being a great president, but all indications are that it's really unlikely that he would be anywhere near as terrible as his predecessor.
Barack Obama has his work cut out for him by George Bush, with an economy in shambles, an overstretched military engaged in two countries with no clear goals, and a government filled with incompetent appointees based on political alignment rather than competency. For someone who has taken more than two whole years for vacation out of his eight-year tenure, George Bush has managed to do enough to leave an incredible mess for his successor. President Obama may have to sacrifice much of his own vacation time because of it.
Like many other people, I'm not happy about the invitation of Rick Warren to give the invocation at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration. Never mind the more general unease of giving a religious oath for government office, which I think is wrong but will grudgingly accept for the sake of tradition, but Rick Warren has been very active in opposing civil rights for homosexuals. It's one thing to oppose the granting of rights to a minority group, which is bad enough, but it's a disgrace to take rights away. In fact, it's a disgrace that a majority of Californian voters decided to take away rights by approving Proposition 8. Anyways, it's troubling that Barack Obama would give someone like Rick Warren a central role in his inauguration.
I'm going to take a wait and see attitude to the invitation before I ultimately determine how to think about the whole affair, though. I'm really hoping that Obama is doing this to throw a huge symbolic bone to the religious right so that he wouldn't have to offer substantive bones, in which case of course he wouldn't be able to explain his real reasons for inviting Rick Warren. However, this is really just wishful thinking, so I still consider efforts to have Rick Warren uninvited to be worthy causes, even if I wouldn't personally participate.
As an ill-informed average American citizen, with no political responsibility or clout, I feel no compunction at all about spouting my mouth off on political topics. And elections are often about voting for the candidate that is not as bad as the other candidates. Given that I think Barack Obama was a good candidate (not perfect, but then again there is no such thing as a perfect presidential candidate) while John McCain was a pretty bad one this time around, I didn't have to spend too many mental resources to decide who to vote for.
And now that Obama has all but won the presidential election with McCain having conceded, I feel quite free to list the major things that I think went wrong with McCain's presidential campaign.
The results for the United States presidential election are coming in, so I thought I would keep track of the electoral votes using Google Maps. It's sad (for me) to see that McCain is winning with 8 electoral votes over Obama's 3 electoral votes at the time I'm posting this, but of course, this is still way too early to say how the election will go.
Given how much I disagree with the policies of Republican candidate John McCain and consider the policies of Democratic candidate Barack Obama to be better, I had decided that I would be voting for Obama quite a while ago. However, recent events in the presidential campaign have prompted me to reconsider my position, and I have now decided to change my mind and vote for McCain.