The American constitutiion, written by America's first elite, ( 55 wealthy, white men), perpetuated elite rule and placed many protective devices, designed to ensure their control, through checks and balances, ( A written and rigid constitution, a federal system with residual powers to the states, a bi-cameral legislature, the House of Representatives elected every two years, the Senate, one third of whom are elected every two years but serving six years and a President elected every four years, not by popular vote but by an Electoral College, a Bill of Rights and an appointed Supreme Court with powers of judicial review). Change will be incremental, not revolutionary.
This is what Pres. Obama will be up against. He can talk all he wants about changes, but any change will be as a result of compromises with Congress and its powerful power brokers and they have their interests to represent....the powerful lobbies. He cam try to use the bully pulpit and appeal directly to thwe public, and this will work at the begining, but eventually, he will be worn down and will have to make deals. This is the nature of the American political beast. The window of opportunity is very small and that is why the first months will be crucial for the success of his plans. This is where the veterans of Congress, Biden, Clinton and most of all the hard as nails Emanuel will be most needed.
The most effective weapon in Obama's armory however is the millions of foot soldiers who financed and won him the election and who have not been disbanded. They form a strong and cohesive force to be used to rally supoport at the grass roots level, using phones, letters and especially the internet( text-messaging etc.) to put pressure on recalcitrant and obfuscating members of Congress and their financial backers. Obama's decision not to disband this this group, but to turn them into a permanent political organisation was a masterstroke. Most of them are young and dedicated. They bought into his leadershuip and his ideas and they are a potent force, so long as they remain faithful. Should they become disenchanted, all will be lost. They have to be kept engaged, informed and involved. Twice before, with Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy, they ( their parents, that is) were engasged and involved, but they drifted off, when McCarthy lost and Kennedy was killed. The Vietnam war and the Civil Rights movement were the issues. Nixon's election and the killings of Martin Luther King and Kennedy dashed hopes and shattered dreams. Forty years after, the hopes and the dreams are back and Barak Obama is leading the way, up the mountain and it is a very difficult and demanding climb.
Tuesday, November 20, 2009, and hope springs eternal. Americans are proud to be Americans, no longer ashamed and despairing. The world looks on in anticipation, with fingers crossed and prayers on their lips. Good luck and God bless.